Morning; Lichfield… Afternoon; Highland Red Squirrels!

I have been looking forward to this week since I booked flights to Inverness back in September. Escaping for a few days with my camera is a luxury as I have hardly had any time for wildlife photography recently. Little did I know then, that the forecast would be for snow… perfect for photographing Scottish wildlife.

Leaving Birmingham late morning, I was sat in a hide with friends, Pete Walkden and Andy Howard just after lunchtime! With a light dusting of snow and the sun still shining, the light was looking great….. I just needed some squirrels! Pete and Andy raved about the morning session, where the squirrels had been leaping across to a feeding table, giving superb opportunities for photography.

It was a tad chilly in the hide, but it was looking good and it was not long before a beautiful young squirrel arrived. This individual was different to those that had done all the leaping in the morning. His plan was to search around on the floor and locate all the nuts that had been hoarded by earlier visitors and go and bury them somewhere new. For this reason, we nick-named him ‘Bandit’!

The red squirrels are so much daintier and prettier than their larger grey cousins. Their winter coats and nifty ear tufts make them great photographic subjects and I have not really had much of an opportunity to photograph them before.

Flitting at surprising speed from one location to the next, it took me a while to get a ‘feel’ for the way this individual behaved, so I could start to get some shots. Only toward the latter part of the afternoon did it actually sit and eat… it was too busy stashing the food as he had seen the forecast for the next few days!

I cannot really process images on my laptop, so these are pretty much straight out of the camera, but a great start to the few days I am here.

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We were also treated to very close views of a tree creeper, thing advantage of food remnants from the feeders… I just love the textures of the lichen on the bark, combined with incredible camouflage of this tiny bird….

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We stayed for a few hours until the light faded. The gathering yellow/grey clouds appearing on the hills suggested another snow fall. As we got back to Andy’s it began to fall. Our excitement is rising, as we have just looked at the forecast and it looks like it is going to snow quite heavily overnight. We will be back with the squirrels first thing in the morning……