Liverpool

Red squirrel photographer 'spent a year getting perfect shot'

Squirrel Image copyright Terry Donnelly/Mercury Press
Image caption Terry Donnelly said he spent hours every day trying to get the stunning shots

A photographer spent a year coaxing red squirrels into his garden to snap stunning photos of them leaping.

Terry Donnelly, 50, camped out in his conservatory for hours each day, waiting for the rare rodents to arrive.

After luring them into his garden with hazelnuts, he built a 4ft (1.2m) wooden frame, designed to encourage them to jump to reach the treats.

The final product - a series of images capturing the animals mid-jump - made the hard work "all worth it", he said.

Mr Donnelly, of Formby, Merseyside, started by placing hazelnuts in an old plant pot at the bottom of his garden.

Every few days, he said, he moved it closer to his house.

"Squirrels hate change, so everything had to be done very slowly," he said.

Once the squirrels were happy to enter the garden, Mr Donnelly said, he set about building the frame.

"It only took me five minutes to put together, but getting the squirrels to trust it took a long time," he said.

He has named two of his new-found friends based on their personalities.

"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," he added.

Formby is famous for its red squirrel population partly thanks to the National Trust sanctuary based close to Mr Donnelly's home.

Squirrel Image copyright Terry Donnelly/Mercury Press
Image caption The photographer has named his new furry friends Jagger and Bruce Lee (pictured)
Squirrel Image copyright Terry Donnelly/Mercury Press
Image caption The nature photographer said red squirrels were "lovely creatures", adding he was "very lucky to have them visit daily".

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