Anne Elliott

Anne Elliott

Posted on 04/25/2015


Photo taken on November 20, 2014


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Keywords

animal
peering from hole in ground
like winter
Mustela frenata
Long-tailed Weasel
white fur
winter coat
Fish Creek Park
Weasel
Calgary
Alberta
Canada
mammal
fall
autumn
white
snow
nature
checking for predators


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Long-tailed Weasel

Long-tailed Weasel
Came across another photo of this animal that I had never posted. Thought I would add it to my set of Long-tailed Weasel photos.

After missing almost all the birding walks with friends in the spring and fall of 2013 (and again in 2014), I pushed myself out the front door on 17 November 2014 and joined them for a leisurely walk in Fish Creek Park.

I left them shortly before the end of the walk and called in to see if there was any sign of the little Long-tailed Weasel that I had seen three days earlier, on 13 November. A few friends had the same idea, so it was nice to have people to talk to while we watched and waited. We were lucky enough to see the little Weasel and I was able to get a few shots. The first time the Weasel appeared, my camera wouldn't function at all and I missed some good chances. Thankfully, I discovered that I had accidentally moved a small lever on the side of the camera to a different position - so easily done at any time, but especially so when wearing a pair of fleece winter gloves over a pair of thin knitted gloves. The local Black-capped Chickadees and a little White-breasted Nuthatch kept us company while we stood and waited. The Weasel was so hard to photograph, as it would run fast across the snow-covered ground, rarely stopping. This photo was taken when it stopped for a few brief seconds and scanned its territory.

"Counting its tail, a large Long-tailed Weasel male, the largest of the three species in Canada, stretches nearly half a metre (20 in) in length, yet can slip into a hole just 3 cm (1.25 in) across. This enables it to enter small rodent tunnels used by mice and voles. In summer, it enters ground squirrels burrows in search of its favourite food. Average males measure 406 mm (16 in), their tail is 135 mm (5.25) long and they weigh 225 g (12.6 oz). Males are approximately 25 per cent larger than females, which on average weigh only 102 g (5.7 oz).

When winter approaches, within 30 days it grows a coat of white, giving it perfect camouflage against the snow -- all except for the tip of its tail, which stays black. A hungry predator, such as a hawk or owl, aims for that black tip, enabling the weasel to escape. Towards spring, between late February and April, in only 25 days, it reverses the process, acquiring the cinnamon-brown topcoat it will use all summer. This includes brown feet, unlike the other two species which retain white feet. The underside is usually buff-coloured." (Taken from the old weaselhead.org website).

novogorodec has particularly liked this photo


Comments
Ken Dies
Ken Dies
Lovely photo Anne. They are brown know.
2 years ago.