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I was passing by Woodlands View on my way back from visiting a relative today. I had no intention of doing any work as I’d spent a good 6 hours driving, but was curious as to why just outside the entrance, two cars were doing a very slow, and strange dance across the middle of the road. I thought that maybe the driver of the first car decided to pull in to the entrance and then thought better of it.

The second car then ‘undertook’ the first, at which point I spotted what they had actually being trying to avoid. There were five or six small, very agitated, brown and white ‘sausages’ in the middle of the road, surrounding another one which unfortunately looked as though it had been run over; and indeed, as I passed, I could see that it had been well and truly squashed.

I pulled into the drive and went to grab my camera, but by the time I got back to the scene, the road was clear; even the casualty had disappeared. There was nothing to be seen, but lots of high pitched squeaking could be heard, so I stayed as still as I could and kept my eyes open.

A minute or two passed and then, the small, squeaky sausages re-appeared on both sides of the road, calling to each other frantically. I managed to get a couple of photos, but they soon spotted me and ducked back into cover.

Thinking that I might be able to do a fair impersonation of the noises I had heard; my reward was a Weasel (Mustela nivalis) kit, popping its head out from under a rock to check me out.

We have seen what we thought were weasels, a few time on sites, but were never able to make a definite identification. This time, thanks to a few photos, I could see the slight change in colour on the end of the tail (not a definite black tip), and the wavy border between the brown of the back and the white of the underbelly, which meant these were weasels and not stoats.

There is a well-known saying, that ‘weasels are weasily wecognisable, whereas stoats are stotally different.’ However, up at Woodlands View, we seem to have an especially speedy variety, which until now has made proper identification impossible.

I have no idea of whether it was one of the kits, or their mother that had been killed. At best, I can guess that the young can’t be more than three to four months old as after this time, they have usually gone their separate ways.

It was time to let them go about their business. Walking back to the car, I noticed a line of baby bunnies sat on the wall along the side of the track. I wonder what they had made of the whole spectacle and whether they had any idea that they might well be the next meal for the young family trying to cross the road.

 

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