Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Grey Day

Yesterday, I took a walk through the woods at Brabyns Park in Marple, Stockport.
The River Goyt runs through the woods which leads to a nice varied collection of wildlife.
The area is renowned for hosting all three species of British Woodpecker as well as Tawny Owls and Woodcock.

On the river I got fleeting glimpses of a male Kingfisher, as well as a Dipper and a pair of Grey Wagtail...Unfortunately non of the above were in range of my lens.
In the woods there were the usual common woodland birds, but for some reason my attention was grabbed by a rather curious Grey Squirrel...

Now, I'm not quite sure what to think of the Grey Squirrel aka The Tree Rat anymore...
I'm a strong supporter of the native British Red Squirrel and I used to have a lot of ill feeling towards the imported American Grey for carrying the pox which has led to the decline of our little Reds.
Sadly, barring a miracle I feel that we may be fighting a losing battle when it comes to saving the Reds in England at least and sooner or later we may have to accept the Grey as our only resident Squirrel...It's a crying shame but I now think it is inevitable.
I spent about 15 minutes watching at close quarters the Squirrel yesterday and as I watched, my feelings towards the species dramatically mellowed in that short time...
After I first spotted him, I put some bird food down on the ground and watched as he curiously peeped around a large oak at the bounty.
After a while, slowly and surely he crept down the tree occasionally stopping to have a quick peep at me.

Within a few minutes, he was on the ground only a few feet away, feasting without a care in the world and not the slightest bit worried about me pointing the camera at him.

His initial nervousness and mannerisms were identical to that I have observed with Red Squirrels in the past, although the thing that struck me most and perhaps even saddens me a little is how much more trusting this Grey seemed to be compared to his Red cousins...I'm slightly saddened at this because considering both UK species of Squirrel, the Grey is the one that really should be most fearful of man.

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