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The Fotherdale Stoats: The Stoat Story So Far

This is the story of a family of stoats living in my garden in North Yorkshire.

An intensive five-year study into the secret world of stoats

I have been watching six generations of a remarkable stoat dynasty for five years now. I follow these little known mammals from the moment the kits are born inside their animal nests to their first experiences of winter snows, getting to know each one individually, giving names to most.

How the Fotherdale stoat story began

A chance sighting back in 2015 of a family of stoats playing in my garden sparked my growing obsession with these marvellous mustelids. Intrigued as they bounced in and out of long waving grasses, I set about watching them closely.

Click here to read my about my first year of stoat studies.

stoat in long grassBut the project  turned from a passion to an obsession after I noticed a stoat bouncing on the cabbage netting on my vegetable patch. It’s behaviour was so impressive that I wondered if I was witnessing the fabled ‘stoat war dance’, in which stoats are said to mesmerise their prey by turning somersaults before delivering a deadly bite.

Click here to read about what I discovered and learn about each member of the stoat family in my full length feature I wrote for BBC Wildlife Magazine.

stoat bouncing on cabbage netting

 

Behind the scenes: Stoat surveillance

Criss-crossed through the shrubbery in my 2-acre garden and the valley below is a complicated network of surveillance cameras. I have trained more than 60 cameras both inside and outside purpose-built stoat nests. These record every move the stoats living in my garden make. The footage is then relayed to a bank of monitors in my office, where I employ two full-time members of staff to sift through the best clips. This year I plan to share the highlights with you via my blog:

Follow the latest in my series of stoat camera stories here

stoat surveillance

Building a ‘stoat city’ at Fotherdale

Stoats are elusive creatures. In order to keep the stoats in my garden, I turned it into a perfect habitat for stoats. This veritable ‘stoat city’ was divided into separate ‘suburbs’ made up of dry stone walls or old twisted logs in which nests and feeding chambers have been built. Each habitat is connected by tunnels made from plastic and terracotta drainage pipes.

The paintings inspired by my Fotherdale stoats

My stoat studies have inspired a new collection of paintings of stoats, due to go on show at my gallery in Thixendale on June 15th- July 7th 2019. Below are a few from the collection.

Click here to see more stoat paintings. 

And click here for more information about my upcoming exhibition.

stoat art
Stoat On Alert | Acrylic Painting
painting the wildlife on the doorstep stoat
Sitting Pretty | Stoat Art Print. Buy Now

Read more:

Stoat nest camera 2019: Follow the latest in my series of stoat camera stories here

How the project began: Click here to read my about my first year of stoat studies.

Stoat art: Click here to see more stoat paintings. 

BBC Wildlife magazine: Click here to read about what I discovered and learn about each member of the stoat family in my full length feature I wrote for BBC Wildlife Magazine.

 

Follow my nest cameras:

Barn Owl Nest Camera 2019 | Tawny Owl Nest Camera 2019 | Peregrine Nest Camera 2019 Kestrel Camera 2019


Stoat Video Music Credits: Last Summer by Ikson: http://www.soundcloud.com/ikson Music promoted by Audio Library https://youtu.be/n2oTA5JSk80

 


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1 comment on The Fotherdale Stoats: The Stoat Story So Far

  1. I love stoats, weasels and otters. They are so intelligent as well as beautiful. Thank you for sharing your garden.

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