Animals

By Sian Bradley

 

A committed snapper spent a year painstakingly luring squirrels closer to his conservatory to snap these spectacular leaping squirrel shots.

Terry Donnelly, 50, spent a year moving a 4ft wooden climbing frame he made by hand and topped with hazelnuts, across his back garden to get it to the ideal location in his pursuit of the perfect red squirrel photo.

 

The professional photographer, from Formby, Merseyside, dubbed the challenge ‘man versus squirrel’ but was rewarded with stunning images of the rare rodents flying through the air.

Terry said: “The past year has been a real challenge – it’s been man versus squirrel, but good fun too.

“The frame only took me five minutes to put together, but getting the squirrels to trust it took a long time.

“I would set up the nuts every morning, but the second I turned my back, they’d be gone.

“Squirrels hate change, so everything had to be done very slowly.

“It’s all worth it when you see the final product though.

“Red squirrels are such lovely creatures.

“I’m very lucky to have them visit me daily.”

Formby is famous for its red squirrel population in part thanks to the National Trust sanctuary, based close to Terry’s home.

The 50-year-old started by placing hazelnuts in an old plant pot at the bottom of his garden.

Every few days, he would move it closer to his house so the squirrels wouldn’t notice the change.

Then, when they were close enough, Terry set up his homemade wooden climbing frame with food placed far apart so that the squirrels have to leap to reach it.

The determined snapper spent hours every day sat in his conservatory, waiting for them to arrive.

Terry even got to know his two furry friends well enough to give them names based on their personalities.

He added: “There’s Jagger, named after his funky moves when he jumps.

“Then there’s Bruce Lee, who looks like he’s doing martial arts mid-air.”