Country diary: not everyone loves the dashing little stoat

Dingieshowe, Orkney: They look cute but these recent arrivals are a huge threat to local wildlife

We moved to Orkney in August, and the first wildlife I saw – not including the ubiquitous gulls and shags – was a stoat. It dashed across the road ahead of us: a sleek little slip of a thing. He wore chestnut, a neat cream bib, and a tail dipped in chocolate.

I love to see them. They are so daintily proportioned, so narrow at the waist. So bendy in the back – lifting in the middle like a caterpillar, or a cat. Quick as a whip, he had bounded by and vanished into the shaggy undergrowth at the verge. They make me smile.

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