Red squirrels are a native species to the UK. A small bundle of energy on the edge, ready to run at every moment. Limited to the far north of the UK after the introduction of the bolder American grey squirrels, the survival of this timid species is uncertain.
Red Squirrel Photography
Walking into the woodland, the smell of wet soil on the air was the start of a day with these little characters. The woodland was still, just the call of long tailed tits echoing through the trees. A small clearing with heather, dry after the autumnal flourish of pink and gorse, green and dense in the midwinter forest slumber was the playground of six red squirrels.
Small movements in the corners of the clearing heralded the arrival of the first red squirrel. Emerging slowly from the shadows, exploring the stumps and logs the first visitor found the stash of hazelnuts. Taking the entire nuts away to bury, returning time after time the routine for the day was established.
A small raid as the great tits figured out how to steal the hazelnuts for their own delight was soon thwarted and calm returned to the glade. Shelled hazelnuts were an instant treat. Eaten where they were found in the morning sunlight. Squabbles broke out when the prime position was taken, racing around the trees and chasing intruders away.
Returning continually the squirrels stashed and ate their way through the day. As dusk approached one girly started her show. Running along a branch and jumping the 2metre gap to the hazelnut stash. Time after time she flew through the sky finding treats to run away with and hide.
As the day ended she sat and ate her fill before vanishing into the woodland and her drey in the treetops.
Finally as the light dropped the glade fell silent. A magical day with some magical little characters.