Flylady Photography by Wendy Cooper

A Chance Encounter in the Woods

Blogs on my Local Patch > A Chance Encounter in the Woods
08/04/2015 - 21:30

Well on a cloudy Good Friday afternoon, I decided to have a little wander on the local patch, as I fancied a 'catch-up' to see how Spring is progressing after a couple of weeks abscence.

 

It was very overcast, but not too breezy and was reasonably mild, so I set off along the usual path through the top part of the woods.  There were two wrens 'declaring' on separate bramble patches, so I stopped to see if I could catch a closer look - no luck, they were both on a rather loud, high speed patrol of their chosen territories.  As I stood peering hopefully at likely spots that they might perch, I saw something scooting up a nearby tree; a busy Treecreeper on the forage. 

At certain times of the year, particularly during the spring and early summer, there are quite a few about busily collecting food.  There are plenty of 'holey' trees, although I've yet to spy where they may nest.

 

After watching it forage and spiral at speed up the tree, until I could no longer see it, I wandered on.

 There are several bramble patches along the route that I follow, with small clearings inbetween.  Each bramble patch appears to be 'owned' by a wren.  Standing in one of the little clearings, I saw one flit into a favourite tangle and stood watching to see where it would reappear.  Now this clearing is not too far from the edge of the field and there are a lot of rabbit holes around it.  As I stood watching,  a movement out the corner of my eye, caught my attention.  Something small, lithe and tan had appeared over the top of a fallen tree.  It wasn't a rabbit, wrong shape!  

 

Wandered over to the log and could see a little hole underneath, with a glimpse of black shiny eyes peeping out intermittantly!

Well naturally this got my attention.  I stood well back and carried on watching the log, where I still kept getting a glimpse of a bright-eyed tan head popping up.  I focussed the camera on the top of the log and waited.....

 

Then, in a blink - 

and pfft! gone again!

 

It was a weasel trying to get a late lunch home!  ( I think it may be a young squirrel, or I have seen grey coloured rats up in the ditches at the edge of the field)

Well, I've seen them before at a distance, but never anywhere near close up, so decided to wait about and see if I could get a better view.   

There are plenty of rabbits that live around the edges of the field and inside the woods as well as mice and an abundance of squirrels. Weasels are not especially rare, just small, fast and certainly on my local patch I've not seen one before, although apparently in some parts they are quite common. I did have a little bit of a read up and one weasel (family) can have a fairly large and exclusive territory, although this may be smaller if preyy is abundant - for a small animal, they eat a lot! 

 

Anyhow, whilst I waited, a couple of local characters seemed quite oblivious to the small eating machine, although no less alert!

This rabbit was on lookout about ten metres from where the weasel appeared to be residing,  

 

 

And this squirrel, obviously doing some Bank Holiday weekend DIY scurried past with a large lump of bark....

But was in something of a hurry!

I could still see glimpses of movement over by the log, so I decided to change position and stood a little way away, the other side of the log from where I'd been watching previously.  

 

Well I waited..... and one of the wrens I  had been looking for, hopped up into the tree and began to serenade...

and listen for a reply...

But as I don't speak 'wren'....

 

Anyhow, I started to see some movement by the log, so got ready, to see if I could capture the moment....

 

The Weasel had come out in the 'open' and was trying to see if I was still standing in my original spot!  

'Where's the 'umanbean?'

 

After which, he shot off underneath the log and disappeared!

I did go and wait around the same area a few times over the weekend, but to no avail, however, late on Sunday afternoon I was about half a mile away on a path along the edge of the woods and a weasel shot across to a grassy area where there are plenty of rabbits.  A few seconds later I could see a rabbit breaking the landspeed record, although, I think the weasel missed out as I then spotted the rabbit catching it's breath before disappearing underground....

 

There was one other very welcome 'First' for the weekend, the past few years I have watched chiff chaffs along the edge of the fallow field, always on the same territory.  I even had a youngster visiting the garden in late summer of last year.  Whilst on 'Weasel-watch' I could hear someone chiff-chaffing away and went to investigate before going home - 

As though never been away and back on his patch!

 

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