Weasels at Parke
Over the last two years you may have noticed a change at Parke - we're now mostly grazing with cattle as opposed to sheep.
Cattle graze grassland in a totally different way and this helps wildlife in a number of ways. The grassland has more tussocks which support larger numbers of small mammals like mice and voles. This is turn leads to more predators and now there are more stoats and weasels seen around the parkland.
During early summer, one of our rangers was lucky enough to catch sight of a family of weasels moving their young from one nest site to another. The adult weasel was seen to carry one of its young across the leat bridge to its new hidey-hole.
While weasels have young (otherwise known as kittens), they repeatedly move their families to different locations to avoid the risk of being found by larger predators, such as foxes.
Weasels are active during the night and day, throughout the year. If you keep your eyes peeled, with the adults and this year's young scurrying around, there's a good chance of catching a glimpse of these charismatic hunters in the meadow.
What they look like
Weasels vary in length between about 17 - 21cm, plus a tail of up to 4cm. They have long, slim bodies with a reddy brown coat and a white belly.
The stoat is a larger member of the same family and the National Trust rangers at Shaugh Bridge are lucky enough to have a stoat family living at their yard.