Readers’ wildlife photos (and video)

Today we have shrews—as far as I know, our first ones. These come from reader Richard Bond, whose notes are indented:

I saw this frenetic little beast scuttling around in a tiny part of my garden. I recognised it immediately as a shrew, but one much smaller than I have seen before: about 50 mm for head and body. That, with its colouration and relatively large tail, identified it as a Eurasian pygmy shrew (Somex minutus). It is the smallest mammal native to Britain, weighing about 4 g. It rushed about in the same area for long enough for me to get a camera and take some photographs. Owing to its rapid movement, this was very frustrating: from about 100 shots, a few were blurred by its movement and in some more it had left the field of view altogether by the time that the autofocus had done its stuff. I was helped by the bright sunny day (contrary to rumour, we do have these in Scotland), which helped with depth of focus and exposure time. In most of the rest of the photos it had buried its snout in detritus, and all that I captured was a furball with (perhaps) a scrap of tail. Of the few half-decent ones remaining, these four were the best.

 

I was amazed by its feet: they look more like hands with long delicate fingers. These enable it to climb a vertical stone wall, but my attempted photos of this were hopeless.

With its tiny size and its extremely active habits (it is aggressively territorial), it needs frequent food, and will eat more than its own weight in a day.

Not long ago reader John Runnels provided us with a nice 12-minute video of migrating white pelicans (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) in a Baton Rouge, Louisiana lake. Today he has another one called “cleared for takeoff,” photographed in the same lake at 7:15 a.m., October 29:

15 Comments

  1. busterggi
    Posted November 2, 2017 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    Proof that even viscious little beasts can be cute.

  2. Posted November 2, 2017 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Ah, sadly our cat brings the odd shrew in.

    • David Coxill
      Posted November 2, 2017 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      But they never bring a mangled or half a Shrew in ,do they?
      Cats don’t like the way they taste.

      • Stephen Barnard
        Posted November 2, 2017 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

        Some species of shrews are venomous. I wonder if that has anything to do with it.

        BTW, great photos!

  3. Posted November 2, 2017 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    Of course Scotland has sunny days. How else could you maintain the 2000 per square foot midge population?

    • David Coxill
      Posted November 2, 2017 at 10:31 am | Permalink

      July 15 1972 was the last sunny day in Scotland.

  4. nay
    Posted November 2, 2017 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    Very nice “candid shots” of the shrew. Although 4 out of 100 must be frustrating, the net shots are impressively clear – you even got a nearly full face! I wonder if an action/sports option would have worked at shrew speed (the kind that take 4-10 shorts in quick succession so you get consecutive pictures of the d*g catching the frisbee). Thanks for sharing.

    • Posted November 2, 2017 at 9:58 am | Permalink

      10 (keepers) out of 100 shots is a damned fine rate for most photography!

      • Posted November 3, 2017 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

        Yes, very shrewd photography! 😉

  5. Jacques Hausser
    Posted November 2, 2017 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    Congrat, Richard! It’s far from obvious to get photos of shrews on the loose. Actually it’s rare to merely see them! I studied shrews all my (professional) life, and I don’t have any photo… I’m planning to try it someday but yet it’s just a wish.

  6. Posted November 2, 2017 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Fun photos Richard! (I can tell you live in a sunny spot by all the moss in your garden! 🙂 )

  7. Michael Scullin
    Posted November 2, 2017 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    When I was working at an arboretum in upstate NY I found a bottle with 6 shrew skeletons in it. I can only imagine that one got in and could not get out and the others got in to dine on those stuck inside.

  8. Heather Hastie
    Posted November 2, 2017 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    Two most enjoyable contributions! Thank you.

  9. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted November 2, 2017 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    I have never seen a live shrew. That would be pretty amazing.

  10. Posted November 2, 2017 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    Typo alert: it’s Sorex, not Somex. When I was a kid in the UK there were many shrews in the strip of woodland outside our house and on sunny afternoons it was possible (by being very still) to watch them come out around the brambles and fireweed and forage in the sunny patches. This contributed to my reputation as the odd child who spent hours hunched over staring under hedges without moving


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