United Kingdom

Photographer captures red squirrel flying after spending a YEAR coaxing rodents onto special frame

A nature photographer spent a year painstakingly luring squirrels closer to his conservatory to capture these spectacular leaping squirrel shots. 

Terry Donnelly, 50, from Formby, Merseyside, painstakingly positioned a handmade four-foot wooden climbing frame in his back garden, topped with hazelnuts, in his pursuit of the perfect red squirrel photo.

The professional photographer, dubbed the challenge 'man versus squirrel' after spending hours waiting in his conservatory 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 committed photographer spent a year attempting to get the perfect leap of the red squirrel landing on a four-foot wooden climbing frame in his back garden in Formby, Merseyside

Ninja squirrel! The incredible shot shows the red squirrel appear in a martial arts pose in mid air as he dives to reach the hazelnuts 

The squirrel with dark pricked ears and a bushy tail takes a chance by soaring to reach the hazelnut treats 

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

He added: '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. 

Terry started the challenge 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 would have to leap to reach it.

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

Terry painstakingly positioned the handmade four-foot wooden climbing frame (pictured) in his back garden, topped with hazelnuts, in his pursuit of the perfect red squirrel photo

Terry Donnelly spent hours in his conservatory over a year attempting to capture the perfect shot. He dubbed the challenge 'man versus squirrel' 

The stunning shot captures the rain spraying off the squirrels fur as it reaches out to land on the wooden climbing frame  

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.'

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