Portrait of a mole

Portrait of a mole

It’s not often that I get the chance to spend time with a mole, I’m not sure many people do. Yet one day this summer, a mole surfaced in our Yorkshire Dales garden where we were house sitting.

After leaving a few hills on the lawn, he (sex unknown but I will refer to him as a he throughout) then explored the rockery area for the next hour.IMG_7696

This ended up to be one of the most challenging subjects to photograph. A dark subject against a dark background that never stopped moving and spent 70% of its time with its head in the ground.

Because of the subject matter I was shooting wide open at 2.8, after realising that my canon 100-400 f4-5.6 was not allowing enough light in. So a switch to the 100mm f2.8 macro allowed me to get some useable shots.IMG_7556

With a subject like this I tend to get carried away with my actuations, in total 950 shots were taken, 650 went into the bin and here is a selection of my top picks.IMG_7411

Fortunately the green of a leaf or the pink of a foxglove gave some much-needed colour.IMG_7384

I really liked its tiny tail, I imagined evolution would have removed that long ago, but it must serve some purpose in the darkness…IMG_7744

And as for how it can swim through the soil, there’s no guessing how it manages that!IMG_7402

Have you ever seen an eye like this?IMG_7549

A close crop of the eye: European Mole, Talpa europaea

After about an hour, he found a dark void in a dry stone wall and went to sleep.Mole, Talpa europaea

I saw him again later that day making a furrow down a path in some dead leaves, he disappeared under a bush and has never been seen since.

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1 Comment

  1. Extraordinary! What a great and rare experience. Never seen a mole’s eye so wide open . Wonderful pix, thank you, glad I was so wrong! Wow!


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