Species of the Month - December 2011
Red Squirrels are active all day during the short days of winter, and with the leaves off the trees they are easy to watch and very entertaining, one of the great wildlife spectacles of Argyll.
Red Squirrels are found in all kinds of woodland, both broadleaved and coniferous. They are widespread on the Argyll mainland but absent from most of the islands.
Feeding signs provide a clue to their presence. Spruce cones gnawed by squirrels are very frayed at the base, while those nibbled by mice have the base smooth and rounded. Hazelnuts are split in half vertically by squirrels; no other creature does this. If you find fresh feeding signs, sit quietly looking up at the branches and with luck after a short while you may see the squirrels themselves.
Grey Squirrels have begun to enter Argyll at Arrochar. If they arrive here the Red Squirrel will be wiped out by the Squirrel Pox Virus which is carried by the greys. It is very important that any sightings of Grey Squirrels are reported promptly. If you hear of any in your area, please investigate, but bear in mind that some Red Squirrels have a lot of grey fur and are often mistaken for Grey Squirrels.
In winter Red Squirrels can be told from Greys by their ear tufts, shown in the top left picture on this page.
Saving Scotland's Red Squirrels
is working to protect Red Squirrel habitats, and any sightings will be
passed on to them.
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18 Dec: Red squirrel in mixed deciduous woodland at Inverawe - Carl.
28 Dec: Judith saw one crossing the A819 north of Inveraray, in an area of willow, birch and pine.
28 Dec: Marlyn reports two
seen at Taynuilt
Nov 2011 - Hazel Gloves