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Apodemus sylvaticus

(sometimes known as the long-tailed field mouse)

I hadn’t met a wood mouse until we came to live in France ten years ago. Their natural habitat is to live in burrows, and we live isolated on a wooded hillside where there is oodles of natural burrowing opportunity and a wonderful supply of berries, seeds, acorns, hazel nuts, sweet chestnuts and walnuts. Early on in that first winter we started to put out sunflower seeds on the window-ledge for the birds – blue-tits, great-tits, black-caps, nuthatches and more, and it was at dusk one evening when I noticed another visitor dashing back and forth to the seed tray. The wood-mouse!

A couple of years ago my hubby made this little video of ‘Mr Mousicles’  “Click Here”

I’ve been a great mouse-lover all my life, starting as a kid on the farm when I had pet mice. The discovery of a mouse on the widow-ledge caused immediate interest, especially when I realised it wasn’t a house-mouse. It was so pretty with its big ears and eyes, brilliant white chest and light-tan fur. He started to visit regularly and I looked out for him every evening.

A few years back we seemed to have a bit of a population explosion and the seed tray became extremely busy, not only with adult mice but babies came along too. Being so close it was easy to get some reasonable photographs. I just needed to keep the window clean.

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At this time we were also doing a lot of flying in our flex-wing microlight (ultralight in the U.S and ULM in France), and in the hangar we also encountered a wood-mouse who seemed incredibly laid-back and unperturbed by our presence. It gave me the idea for a story and ‘The Mouse and the Microlight’ was born. I had brilliant fun creating illustrations using a combination of photographs (of the window-ledge mice) and digital painting, using GIMP (my free image manipulation program).

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Dandelion

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The Mouse and the Microlight developed into a many chaptered story about a mouse called Formidable who came to love flying. It was easy to combine aerial photos with mouse photos for those parts of the story.

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Formid and Five

I ended up writing the story as a blog and putting up a chapter every week or two ( it can be found under Blogroll on the side-bar), and soon after a second story happened called ‘When the Hangar Came Down’. If you wanted to have a peek at the very beginning then go to Archives February 2011. I’m thinking seriously of making both stories into an e-book this winter.

A favourite pic from the story

A favourite pic from the story

 

I’d love your thoughts!

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