By Harriet Whitehead
A cheeky red squirrel turned the tables on a wildlife photographer by leaping behind the camera as if ready to take a snap.
The bushy-tailed creature was captured perched on a mini tripod gripping the camera and peering above the viewfinder as though studying its subject.
The cute snaps were taken in Pow Hill Country Park, County Durham, by 63-year-old photographer Gordon MacPherson who visited the natural beauty spot with photography club pals last month.
Gordon from Seaham Harbour, Durham, said: “I have been there a few times as I know there are red squirrels there.
“Someone else was also taking pictures and he put his camera down and the squirrel ran over to it and climbed up it and I managed to capture it. It was climbing all over the camera.
“Quite a few photographers go up to try and capture these squirrels. They put peanuts out for them and the squirrels will hunt for them.
“It was a fantastic moment to capture. I was really happy when I saw I got that shot.”
The semi-retired health and safety consultant said he wasn’t expecting the squirrel to jump up onto his camera equipment.
Grandad-of-two Gordon said: “We were going to get them in their natural surroundings but when it jumped on the camera I took the opportunity.
“You usually see grey squirrels everywhere but it takes me a good hour to get to Pow Hill to see the red ones.
“I have seen four of them there – you put peanuts out and they come. They are beautiful creatures and are really friendly with humans.”
Former miner Gordon, who took the images on his Nikon D500, is self-taught having taken up the hobby six years ago.
Gordon said: “I was coming up to retirement age and I wanted a hobby.
“I used to go to watch Sunderland Football Club but they are rubbish now so I decided to spend my money on cameras instead.
“I am out every day taking photographs of owls, sea eagles, sparrowhawks, kingfishers – all wildlife.
The wildlife enthusiast also regularly takes pictures of Border Collies for their owners and donates the money to charity.
Gordon said: “My camera takes 10 films per second – it’s like a machine gun.
“Sometimes they turn out rubbish if you have not caught it quite right and it’s about being there at the right time.
“I go to places where there is a lot of wildlife but sometimes you might be walking for hours and not see anything but other times you will get all sorts – stoats, the birds, all kinds of wildlife. It’s brilliant.”