A short post as an update on the two red squirrels. During the windy day on Saturday they were less conspicuous, and we never saw the two at the same time. I hate these days as we worry about whether one might have fallen victim to the buzzard or the cat. The buzzard is here less often, and though I like to see buzzards, on this occasion its relative absence suits me fine. I haven’t seen the cat since I photographed its tracks on the snow a week ago. Its absence is definitely welcomed and I won’t commit to print the next though that came to mind.
When the wind was more subdued on Sunday the squirrels were much more active, though for some reason they stopped using the squirrel feeder, despite it being half-full of a mix of peanuts and pine nuts, the level of which remained static for several days. I checked to see if a bird or mouse had got in and died, but all was in order. I changed the peanuts and pine nuts for hazelnuts and immediately the squirrels began using the feeder again. So far as I can see all of the hazelnuts are being buried so I’m afraid the wee red fellows have spoiled it for themselves. I just can’t afford the cost of these nuts for them simply to be buried so unless hazelnut trees start to sprout then that’s been an expensive trial. Now that the squirrel feeder has been emptied of hazelnuts and re-filled with peanuts and pine nuts they’ve started using it again. Strange.
I got a lovely photo of the squirrels together on Saturday and a photo of one of them in the last rays of evening sun on Saturday. In the one with them both the slightly lighter tail tip of one is apparent. This squirrel is slightly less dominant than the other but is much more of a jumper, regularly leaping from tree trunk to tree trunk rather than crossing via branches. It would be a great mid-air photo for someone with a much better camera than mine. I see both scent-marking the ground by rubbing with their chin and sometimes pushing their bodies along the ground using their back legs. I’ve no idea if they have a gland on their chin so must read up on this (it’s maybe a built-in detection device for buried buts of course). They’re also partial now to apples which I put out along with mealworms for the blackbirds. Not sure if the squirrels take the mealworms but I’m watching for that.
Ending with the ‘buried’ theme, the grass in front of my office window is covered with chaffinches just now. They’re pecking about in all of the areas where the coal tits spend most of November burying hundreds of black sunflower seeds. At least they’re not being wasted!