The red squirrels breed at last

The young red squirrel watched me from eye level

The young red squirrel watched me from eye level

The second youngster watched me from above

The second youngster watched me from above

Working out how to get to the nuts, protected by netting against jackdaws

Working out how to get to the nuts, protected by netting against jackdaws

I casually looked out of the kitchen window this morning and watched a red squirrel at the bird nut feeder. A few minutes later I watched a squirrel a few trees along from the one holding the feeder. I looked back at the feeder and the first squirrel was still there. Great; this was the first time for a while I have been able to confirm the presence of two red squirrels. I went to the office for the binoculars to have a better look but before I got them to my eyes I saw three squirrels.

Setting down, I looked carefully at the two that were close together on a tree with the squirrel nut feeder. From their much smaller size and their playful antics it was obvious they were young squirrels. I assumed that the squirrel still on the bird nut feeder was the mother so paid no more attention, concentrating on the other two.

I got the camera and went to the garden, managing to slowly get quite close to the two playful bundles of red fur. One came on to the ground and fed on some wheat or black sunflower seeds spilt from other bird feeders.  The other sat on a branch 20 feet off the ground eying me up. As I got close to the squirrel on the ground it scampered towards me and up a tree to about eye level, where it allowed some photos to be taken.

When I turned my attention back to the red squirrel that had been on the bird nut feeder it had finished its business there and was nimbly making its way from tree to tree towards the front of the house. It was only then that I realised it may well have been a third youngster and not the mother after all.

I watched during the day, sometimes seeing three squirrels at once again, and being able to confirm the two closest to me as youngsters, but the third was more elusive and I couldn’t confirm whether it was an adult or not. It’s fantastic that the squirrels, with us now since the summer of 2012, have at last bred. They just need now to stay well away from the public road.

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