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Expect the Unexpected

March 6, 2017

Expect the Unexpected

- as seen by -

Stuart McKay Stuart McKay

During the winter of 2014, I considered myself extremely fortunate to have witnessed and photographed the life and death struggle between the stoat, more commonly referred to as the short-tailed weasel, and the meadow vole, as it played out in real time before me. It was so rare an occasion to witness and even more rare to have the opportunity to take this photo.

I had just finished a rewarding session observing and photographing a magnificent great gray owl, the official bird for the Province of Manitoba.

For many years I have pursued these majestic owls of the boreal forest for these purposes. As much as I love all birds of the avian world, it is this owl that has earned its way to the top of my all-time favorites list

Now more on the weasel and vole saga.

As mentioned, I had very recently finished a photo session on a great gray owl as it, too, was foraging for meadow voles. I was on foot and headed back to my vehicle I had left parked on a remote road. When I was within 30 feet of it, I spotted the weasel frantically chasing down the vole on the snow-covered road. The real-time action was fast and furious as the two zigged and zagged all the while heading directly towards me. I had no time to waste. My only option was to raise and hand-hold my 600mm lens, locate the two blisteringly fast-moving subjects and attempt to photograph this amazing episode.

The weasel soon captured its prey in the blink of an eye.

Through my eyes, and through the lens of my camera, I have learned to always expect the unexpected in the world of nature photography.

Canon 7D, Canon 600 mm f/4 Lens

, Canada Map It


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Dennis Anderson
November 12, 2021 at 12:24 pm

Hi Stuart. I grew up and now have a cottage on our old farm 5 miles due north of Libau MB at junction of Road 91 North and Road 32 East. Our property borders and includes part of Anderson Lake (formerly Poplar Point Lake in the east of the Red River part of the Netley-Libau Marsh. Bill Richard bought and lives on my maternal grandparent’s old farm, just 2 miles east of our cottage.

I’m interested in viewing your wildlife photos. Of particular interest at the moment is an image (that I believe you took) of a mallard drake landing—the duck is flying/gliding directly toward the camera lens.

I can be reached at dennisa@mymts.net or by cell phone 204-651-2401.

We live in Gimli but are now wintering in Tucson, AZ.

If you don’t mind, can I have your phone number?

Hope to hear from you soon.