The Rules are simple: Go out. Be still. Keep binoculars at hand.
It began as a NOT flickering at the edge of my vision — as in Not-Squirrel, Not-Bird, Not Chipmunk. Rabbit? Rat? It skittered low across the stone wall — there, gone, pop-out, disappear, east end to west end and back. Furry tail, especially the end, very fast, sleek, torpedo shaped. Nothing chasing it. No other animal like it. Not a mating race.
Moving very deliberately, and keeping a low profile, I left my chair and retrieved the binoculars and focused. Waiting. Scanning.
A weasel. Specifically, a Least Weasel, white bellied, brown furred. They eat 60% of their body weight each day and kill with one bite to the back of the neck. Their hearts beat over 350 times a minute. They are traveling through time like javelins.
This one was hunting the gaps in the wall.
His skirring and plunging increased in intensity. He was driving something inside the wall. Then he was out and for the beat of two or three seconds, a long time, he perched on the wall, a mouse a third its size hanging limply in its mouth. He loped across the driveway, across the road and into the tree line and was gone. I realized that I had stopped breathing.