Late morning, not dressed yet, barefoot, sitting at the kitchen counter having coffee, chatting with Kathy. She is facing the sliding window to the back of our home, I’m facing her. She screams in excitement, It’s uh, uh, uh…! I turn to see a short-tailed weasel running from the shed with a mouse in its mouth. Fortunately my tripod with camera and long lens was right next to me as I was photographing beavers down at the river the previous night. I grabbed it and ran outside on the deck. Holy moly! Those guys are quick. Not a chance to get a focused shot. But then it hops on a log, pauses long enough for me to get it in focus, and jumps!
I follow, barefoot, into the forest in hopes of finding its den. Ouch! Oo! Eek! Ouch! No chance.

Were we excited? You bet. It is not often we get a chance to see ermines, anywhere, but a chance to photograph one in our own backyard? Wow!

What we do know is that they cache extra food for later consumption. That means if they find a supply they will return to catch all they can. We wait. 10 minutes, 20 minutes and then it returns. This time I’m ready. I get off a few quick shots as it returns to the shed.


But this time is different. It comes out of the entrance at blazing speed and whips around the back side of the shed. We don’t see it for a couple of minutes and then…there it is, way off in the meadow with another mouse. It is heading back to the log. Sure enough it jumps up, pauses and jumps again. Not one but TWO chances to get the in-flight shot!




That was enough food for the day or it got the last mouse. Haven’t seen it since.

What a day!

This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. Jan

    How cool! Didn’t even have to get in a car! You owe your wife a box of candy for alerting you!

  2. Kristen Schwartz

    Wow is right! Great post, Jim. I would love to have seen that in person, but at least I got to experience it through your great storytelling and images.

  3. Jim Stamates

    Thanks Jan. Yep, didn’t even havet to start the Pleasure Way. Kathy is the best wildlife spotter I know and a box of candy isn’t going to do it, I’m forever in debt.

  4. Jim Stamates

    Thanks Kristen for you comment. Those little rascals are elusive. I’d seen one a few years ago coming from the shed in winter. Their fur changes to white except for the black tip on the tail. No pics, though.

  5. Lou Murray

    Awesome shots. what a sighting, and in your own yard. Congrats!

    1. Jim Stamates

      Thanks Lou,
      We need to look no further than our own back yard.

  6. Nickie Hoppe

    What a great way to start the day! It’s so fortunate you had your camera at the ready…paid off big time!

  7. Julie Nelson

    So Cool!!

    You got some great pics. Julie

  8. Tom

    Wow! You had some luck but you deserve some credit for being prepared. Great shots!
    See you at Grand Teton in June.

  9. cindi

    Jim, fabulous opportunity to see the weasel with a mouse, and you were able to capture it. If only I had a camera and was able to chase you chasing the weasel that was chasing the mouse that was chasing the cheese — you in your pj’s and running barefoot in the pine needles and pine cones! Great shots!

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