18 September 2016

Squirrels

Damned Thing!
America gave us chewing gum, nylon stockings, Heinz 57 varieties and The Trump International Golf Links near Aberdeen. They also arranged a plague of American grey squirrels, These arboreal rodents have spread throughout the island of Britain, driving away our unfortunate native red squirrels.

It is estimated that there are now over 2.5 million grey squirrels and perhaps only 140,000 red squirrels that manage to survive in just a few strongholds. In 1875 there were no grey squirrels at all but then the owner of a Cheshire country estate introduced a pair of greys as exotic curiosities.

The rest is history as they say. Growing up in East Yorkshire, I do not remember ever seeing a grey squirrel in our village.  Nowadays they are more or less everywhere. We see grey squirrels in our parks and gardens, squashed in our roads or raiding our bird tables. Thanks America!

A week ago, Shirley and I visited the coastal pine forest at Formby on the Lancashire coast. I knew there was a red squirrel sanctuary there so we visited it, hardly expecting to see any native squirrels but to our surprise and delight there were plenty.
This greedy squirrel was called Steve
They were scurrying hither and thither, leaping between trees and generally doing all that they could to avoid being successfully photographed. If I had had more time to spare, I would have simply focused on an old log or something and waited patiently for a squirrel to appear. Following the little blighters around with my lens was like playing some kind of crazy video game - "Hunt The Squirrel".

An occasional visitor to this humble blog is Ian from "Shooting Parrots". He is a huge fan of the red squirrel. During his grammar school days, in the forbidding  suburbs of Manchester, he was even nicknamed "Tufty" by the other boys and his favourite Beatrix Potter book was of course "Squirrel Nutkin". Specially for Ian, and for Red Squirrel in Red Deer - Alberta, this post is accompanied by the best red squirrel pictures I managed to snap at Formby - but as my old Mathematics teacher used to say on school reports - "Could do better".
Gotcha! But not sharp enough

29 comments:

  1. Two and a half grey squirrels? That's not many is it. What does half a squirrel look like?

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    1. Well spotted Sue! Error now addressed. Half a grey squirrel looks like a furry pork chop.

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  2. You're welcome, YP! Would you care for a few hundred thousand possums and palmetto bugs to go with the squirrels? 😂

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    1. Please don't send Donald Trump back to us. We have had enough of that shaven orang-utan. (With apologies to any orang-utans who happen to be reading this blog).

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    2. Haha. The comedian Bill Maher has been saying for months that Trump's father was an orang-utan. He posts a picture of Trump alongside a photo of an orang-utan for proof--the similarity is striking!

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  3. OK, I have to admit, those are beautiful squirrels. Even Steve. :)

    What can I say about gray squirrels? They're annoying in America too.

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    1. We should send a large cruise ship over to America - filled with badgers. That would teach you for sending us so many pesky John Grays.

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  4. For a long time I had just spotted these grey squirrels here and missed our domestic red ones. But yesterday I saw a red one in our garden and today, while waiting for green light at an intersection, a young red jumped out of a bush. Very cute! Maybe our domestic squirrels come back?

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    1. Did the red one that jumped out at the intersection ask if he could clean your windscreen?

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    2. Could be, but to my regret I don't understand squirrelish. Very annoying!

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  5. Yes, we tend to get persecuted with grey squirrels if we give them the slightest encouragement. So, no feeding the birds, sadly.

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    1. We occasionally see a grey squirrel in our garden but he is so irregular that it does not interfere with bird feeding.

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  6. It's a bit like the current immigration problems world-wide!

    We don't have squirrels of any colour here in Australia. The Americans didn't succeed in sneaking them in across our borders, but they have managed to sneak in some suspect spelling and words!

    The English introduced foxes and rabbits to our fair shores, which got the kangaroos and wallabies hopping mad!

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    1. Sorry about the foxes and the rabbits but I swear that this had nothing to do with me personally. If grey squirrels ever arrived in Australia they would spread like wildfire - if you'll pardon that unfortunate expression.

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    2. I would never blame you, Yorkie. If I did, I know you'd try to squirrel you way out of it! ;)

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    3. You! You're a foxy lady!

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  7. There are no red squirrels called Steve - only grey (or is that gray?) squirrels called Steve. Red squirrels are called Neil.

    Think about it.

    And that damned word squirrel is a difficult word to type for the uncoordinated.

    Alphie

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    1. I am thinking about it Alphie - before I nip outside to bury my nuts.

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    2. Don't do it! Don't do it, Yorkie! I'll regret it if you do!!!!!!

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    3. Eh? I can always locate my nuts later. Scrabble around and have a nice nibble.

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  8. We have lots of red squirrels (not me!) here. They are tamiasciurus hudsonicus. They are a nuisance. Maybe you would like two of them.

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    1. Our red squirrel is sciurus vulgaris and sciurus vulgaris does not mix with tamiasciurus hudsonicus. You on the other hand are bloggasus mischievous.

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    2. What a discovery you've made...bloggasus mischievous!

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  9. The last lot of photos I took of Red Squirrels at Formby were taken on film: in the days when you didn't know if the results were sharp or not until long after you'd taken the photo.

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    1. You escaped from Merseyside so long ago that I am guessing the film was black and white.

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  10. Thank you so much! The last photo is particularly good. One day I must write about my brief brush with the Tufty Club...

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    1. Thanks for calling by... Tufty!

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  11. We get neither here YP - I have only once seen a grey squirrel in our pines and never a red.

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    1. Probably too cold for them in the wintertime. It's easier to survive at lower altitudes.

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Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.