Today I went on my fourth walk of the year with a group of friends, this time to a tiny but wonderful nature reserve on the outskirts of the village of Lockerbie, a village now sadly best remembered on account of its association with the gruesome bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 twenty five years ago.
The little nature reserve was the brainchild and is now still the passion of Jim Rae, a local school biology teacher, now retired, who has devoted enormous amounts of time and energy to its development and upkeep. You can read more about the Eskrigg Nature Reserve here.
I tried to photograph some of the birds which were there but they mostly proved too quick for me. But I did spot this lovely Red Squirrel as I walked through the woods and managed to grab a few shots of him/her from about 15 metres away before the lovely creature vanished like lightning through the trees.
Unfortunately, in Britain, the red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) is becoming increasingly rare since the introduction of the grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) from America. The grey squirrel is a larger and much more prolific and adaptable creature than the red squirrel and competes for food with its smaller red cousin. The grey squirrel also carries a disease, the squirrel parapoxvirus or squirrelpox, that does not appear to affect their health but will often kill the red squirrel.
Projects throughout Britain, like the SSRS, are attempting to save the red squirrel population and destroy the grey variety which are now considered vermin.
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trevormoffiet (3072) 2014-01-29 22:24
An excellent image of this red squirrel. The out of focus background is perfect for showcasing this animal without any distractions. Pin sharp, nice highlight in the eye. I didn't realise how much they look like a rabbit in their face.
COSTANTINO (53757) 2014-01-29 22:47
greetings for the capture of this red squirrel
excellent photo so alive delicate and pretty
a dynamic moment for a good photographer
the colors are really natural and I am
feeling its movement perfectly executed
hello little squirrel
have a nice day
maloutim (9635) 2014-01-29 23:08
I love red squirrels and when I saw this in the UK gallery, I thought it was brilliant, as I only know too well about the grey squirrel problem !
Of course this is Scotland, rather different from England, and I am glad they are trying to do something about the problem.
What a lovely close-up of this cute little friend ! I love its alert attitude and the piecing look in its eye !
Congratulations for this great capture !
jjcordier (75190) 2014-01-29 23:12
Magnifique photo de cet adorable petit animal à l’œil vif. Belle gestion de la lumière.
emka (76483) 2014-01-29 23:13
Hi John, have you a diary in which you write about your walks?
Beautiful red squirrel. was this made from 15 meters distance?? What lens you have, it seems so close. Amazing sharpness. in our parks we have many red squirrels, they eat from hand but even then I do not make such sharp photos. Sometimes the squirrels come even to my garden, I have no idea from where. Fortunately, we have no grey ones. In the mountains they are balck.
Warm regrads Malgo
Noel_Byrne (22793) 2014-01-30 0:48
For me, these are one of the most skittish little creatures, and despite my efforts I have never ever managed to take a good photo of one. Not only have you a perfect fluffy portrait here, but you have captured a fantastic personality in the creature too. This guy looks he could easily be the star of a global hit Disney movie! Color contrast between his red color and the green of the tree is the icing on the cake.
Beautiful shot, thanks for sharing.
All the best
carlo62 (30625) 2014-01-30 0:57
eccellente scatto, i dettagli sono incredibili e il soggetto è veramente simpatico, un ritratto da primo premio.
Complimenti, molto bella anche la luce.
timecapturer (47518) 2014-01-30 3:55
now this little fellow would be welcome in my back garden, rather than the grey one that keeps digging holes in my lawn and chewing up the daffy bulbs. You have captured him/her so exquisitely too! Amazing detail and perfectly posed, superb capture John.
Regards - B.
CLODO (29914) 2014-01-30 6:41
This specy is really common in France! I wonder really if you took it from a distance of 15 meters, he seems so close, looking at you before hiding against the tree trunk. Superb sharpness on his "mustach"!
Royaldevon (28455) 2014-01-30 8:14
I wish I could see a red squirrel so close!
We watched one on a camera that had been set up in the Lake District, near a feeding station, but we couldn't see it in reality!
They really are cute fellows!
It is a really well composed shot, the squirrel's eye right on the intersection of the thirds lines. The colours are glorious and the textures, almost palpable!
Can I just suggest that you selectively sharpen the eye and run around it with the dodge tool set to highlights. It is makes a slight but effective difference.
My best wishes,
SnapRJW (30687) 2014-01-30 9:16
Hello John - I'm looking at this on my little laptop but from what I can see, this is a lovely shot. Pin sharp with good natural colours ans squirrel nutkin has a lovely twinkle in her eye! Warm regards Rosemary
willperrett (6634) 2014-01-30 11:15
That's a fine nature photograph! As you say, reds are an increasingly rare sight these days, but you were lucky enough not just to spot one, but rattle off several frames. Even with your 400mm, this looks seriously close. Did you crop the original file at all? Either way, we have real sharpness: the whiskers, eye, claws, bib and ear are all spot on.
Silvio1953 (119690) 2014-01-31 7:02
Ciao John, great capture of curte creature in nice pose, fine details, excellent sharpness, splendid light and wonderful colors, very well done my friend, ciao Silvio
annjackman (19025) 2014-01-31 9:30
How lucky to see a Red Squirrel. I have never seen one in the south of the UK. I always think that they are much more cute than the grey ones. You caught that lovely light in the eye and excellent detail in the coat and ears. The BG is expertly handled, being blurred with absolutely no distracting highlights or dark shapes.
Love the detail of the green moss on the tree trunk.
Best wishes, Ann
macjake (54940) 2014-01-31 14:03
you know that this is exactly how i look like in the morning before going to work lol!
cute little guy! makes me wonder...what is the distinction between a male and a female squirrel? except for the obvious of course. I really couldn't tell you...
Those darn grey squirrels just have to go and ruin it for everyone don't they! Personally, i'm pulling for the red guys :)
and about their lightning quickness, well, i think i'd be quick and always on alert too if I were this small and had numerous animals Hunting me down at every turn! haha I'd be downright paranoid!
you have a wonderful collection of furry animals, small and large, it'd be nice to be able to see them all in one visual grouping don't you think?
another sweet one here too.
great close up of this little critter, sharp and well focused, love the claws and the green moss too.
Imagine ME, with my extreme wide angle lens trying to capture this guy lol....that'd be hilarious! Think how close i'd have to be to the squirrel lol
Good use of the zoom lens.
looking forward to more critters.
jhm (137668) 2014-02-01 1:15
What a lovely picture with these rascal against the tree.
I see almost every week this type squirrels, but she are very quick, I can never make a picture.
So sharp and clear this is simple wonderful, congratulations for the patience.
Your picture is very pleasant to look at.
Excellent composition, with pleasant colours.
Very well done, TFS.
Have a nice weekend,
worldcitizen (6733) 2014-02-25 15:48
Since we only see grey squirrels here in NY, it's always nice to see a red one in photos. :-) This guy is a real cutie; I especially like his ears. You did a great job capturing him so sharply, with a softly-blurred background. The grey squirrels here are very assertive, but it seems like their red counterparts are a bit more shy.
- Copyright: John Cannon (tyro) (19780)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2014-01-29
- Categories: Nature, Decisive Moment
- Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Canon EF 100-400 f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM, Hoya 77mm Pro1D UV(0)
- Exposure: f/5.6, 1/500 seconds
- More Photo Info: view
- Map: view
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Date Submitted: 2014-01-29 17:58