I've been watching a family of stoats in my garden and I've managed to get some great photographs which I plan to use as studies for a painting.
I first spotted the stoats playing in the garden and when I saw one climb the wire mesh fence at the end of our boundary with incredible ease it gave me an idea.
I decided that if I could get the stoats to feed in the garden I could set up an assault course for them and watch them as they chased one another about. Stoats are very nimble and agile and I wanted to capture this skill.
I began putting out rabbits for them every day and once they were visiting the garden regularly, I set a trail of food along some old branches.
At the top of the assault course I put a down a hollow log and left a rabbit inside it everyday.
It was fun to watch the stoats work for their food!
I kept changing and developing the assault course, to capture the stoats in different poses.
I love watching them. They are real characters.
They are also very cheeky. It didn't take them long to work out that I was also putting food out for a family of kestrels and this one ventured up the branch to try to pinch it.
It got sharp shrift from the adult female kestrel. She swooped down and plucked the stoat off with her talons and flung him onto the ground!