Friday, 23 December 2016

Red squirrel inside feeder during sleet shower

Christmas came early this year with the arrival of red squirrels to the garden. What a great privilege this has been to see. We’ve had another garden sighting of two red squirrels at the same time but this time them both got a start at seeing the other and ran off in different directions. Both were seen using the feeder.

After the successful brief trial of a clothes peg to prop open the feeder it has certainly been well used! It’s been a great distraction from the rushing around at this time of year – when I’ve been at home long enough to see it :-)

An update to my experience using a squirrel feeder, that I would like to pass on after seeing the squirrel inside it, is that if you only fill it one third full the nuts inside have more of a chance of staying dry longer. As there is then more space inside, you might see it being used as in indoor feeder during wet and wintry weather. Good luck with your homemade squirrel feeder John - good job there :-)

You can see in the video below that a visiting red squirrel, during a sleet shower, was quite comical to watch. The lighting was poor but you can still see it inside. By the smear marks on the perspex of the feeder it looks like it’s a common occurrence for red squirrels to dine indoors ;-)

Please note before playing (1 min) I couldn't resist adding a bit of music here.
Also, take a closer look at the beginning of the 2nd clip, you can see how a
squirrel baffle must work as it struggles to go upwards under feeder.

As I uploaded my video just now, one individual (or was it?) was running back and forth again feeding both inside and by stretching from the outside. More stashing of nuts in the wet garden borders were seen too. As much as I would love to sit here gardenwatching longer, there is much Christmas prep awaiting my attention! I'm not alone there, I know :-)

Before I run like the wind to get things done, I’d like to wish you all a very HAPPY CHRISTMAS and to thank-you for visiting and leaving comments for another year. I haven’t quite managed to post the updates I would have liked but I’ll catch up on them at some point over the winter months. Keep warm and safe. Best wishes to you all, Shirley x

This post was published by Shirley for shirls gardenwatch in December 2016.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Wordless Wednesday: Ivy Diners, Sept 30

This post was published by Shirley for shirls gardenwatch in December 2016.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Clothes peg help for red squirrels

Fantastic news, red squirrels have continued to visit the garden and are showing just how photogenic they are. When they stay still long enough to photograph that is. Video captures are another matter entirely, more patience and the right timing is required there.

It's fair to say that red squirrels are keeping me alert at my gardenwatch window. However, I'm no longer looking to the mature trees outside the garden for visiting Waxwings to the area. Oh dear, via twitter chat, it appears that good numbers have been spotted on the street that backs on to my garden! Aw... I guess I can't really complain though given what we've been seeing :-)

Yesterday, after a successful experiment with a clothes peg as a prop to keep the squirrel feeder lid open enough for the nuts inside to be clearly seen, red squirrels managed to work out they could get them out. Yay! Great news for visiting birds too as that leaves the low bird table free for them again. Here's some storytelling images since last time...

DEC 2: What fabulous facial and body expressions the red squirrel has :-)

DEC 2: What endearing little characters, a privilege to be putting food out for :-)

DEC 2: I thought they would have worked out the feeder roof lifted up.

DEC 8: Clothes peg prop, first trial whilst weather stays dry. No result.

DEC 9: Between rain showers, day two with clothes peg prop. A result!

DEC 9: Muddy faced gardening red squirrel, about to hide nuts in the borders.
Magpies are watching you don’t you know, high up in a neighbour's tree :-0

DEC 9: Guerrilla gardening in its wildest form, poor hellebore roots :-0

DEC 9: Stage 2 of the clothes peg prop experiment, it’s removal is a success!

DEC 9: The longer view of the feeder area shows the red squirrel quite comfortable now with lots of options to access feeder. Blackbirds have been enjoying the apple feast as has newly arrived, winter visitor, a female Blackcap:-)

DEC 8: Favourite red squirrel photo capture from kitchen window.
Finger’s crossed they will still be visiting over Christmas and into the New Year.
Ha-ha, I'd better keep the camera out of the kitchen and focus on my cooking!

Finally, yesterday the garden saw yet another major gardenwatch highlight! This one, I’ve seen many times from the observation window at SWT Loch of the Lowes but never in my wildest dreams thought I would EVER see in my garden. We had a red squirrel chase! Round and round the garden they went! Quite intense it got too. How amazing is that, to have red squirrels fighting over a feeding station in my garden! Here's me oblivious, experimenting with a clothes peg prop too ;-)

So it’s clear now, that more than one red squirrel has worked out how to get in the feeder! I naively thought the same squirrel was feeding and stashing nuts for almost 1½ hours yesterday. Further to this revelation, based on photo and video captures, neither have a bare patch of fur on their backs. So that’s confirmation that at least 3 red squirrels have been visiting this small garden, in a small town, with houses all round it. I wonder if other neighbours have noticed them. I hope so :-)

This post was published by Shirley for shirls gardenwatch in December 2016.