Thursday, 6 December 2007

Grey Squirrel hides peanuts!

Well, once again wildlife has found my garden after I have put out food for the birds. The peanuts have done it again! Although I have feeders for the birds I usually only put sunflower hearts in them. I tend to scatter peanuts and sultanas on the ground often under the little Acer tree, at my back door and opposite my window, for the group of blackbirds that visit.

The peanuts and sultanas I believe are what attracted the hedgehog visits to my garden although I haven't seen many visits recently. Okay, so the title says it all but I cannot resist telling a story with some captions for my pictures!

Okay so I've found the peanuts - now where could I hide them?


Mmm I'm thinking about it... perhaps nearby?


Okay, a quick check to see if the coast is clear. Ahh the bird bath helps I can see a spot now. Mmm I'll be cool about it and not give the game away!


Grey squirrel eating, video 0:54 with background music, try 480p quality.

Aghh ... Caught on video the game's up!


Yesterday, I grabbed a late lunch and as I was preparing it I noticed the squirrel above through my window. It was a very, very, windy day and it had rained in sheets for spells. I noticed the bird feeders were quite quiet but then again they are in need of filling up but I wanted to clean them first. I always throw food on the ground when this is the case and that is probably why the squirrel stopped on its way through my garden. In the last week we have spotted it on a couple of occasions walking on the ground and having a drink from any puddles then scurrying off.

I opened the window and threw some more peanuts under the tree then quickly set up my video camera inside. With the rain and wind the sky was heavy and dark but I did manage catch it and although it is on the dark side and once again the processing isn't the best but it still captures the visit well. Did you notice the squirrel patting the ground after it had buried the peanut? It is always tricky deciding which pieces of film to use. On a dry day I can put my camera outside but then again it isn't remote control so I cannot follow any wildlife as I can from inside. So taking pictures from my video or digital camera do loose a bit in quality as they are through glass but I was still thrilled with them as this is another first for my gardenwatch.

Finally, I would like to point out that the grey squirrel has observed the colour theme of my border that it has chosen to store the peanuts - it is my silver border! Okay I have to be honest now as a gardener and say as these plants are fairly young and I wonder if it will break or damage the main stems. I really wouldn't be happy about that. I also don't know if I would be happy if this squirrel took all the peanuts every day and if it brought friends! Mmm a tricky balance, but for now I am enjoying our newest visitor to the garden a I hope to see it return.

The photos and video of the grey squirrel shown above were taken in my garden on 5th December 2007.

17 comments:

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Great video of the squirrel burying the peanuts Shirl. While they are fun to watch you may rue the day this little creature found your garden.

The Gray Squirrel has buried peanuts in our garden many times. One year we had several peanuts growing here and there in the garden. I then knew their favorite hinding places. We don't have the right environment for the peanuts to fully develop. I left several in the ground to see what would happen. They didn't mature.

Pete said...

aw !! it looks SSSSOOOO innocent!!

Jane said...

I know they are supposed to be the bullies of the squirrel world (and the little red squirrels do win in the cuteness stakes) but greys are still lovely. I only wish that mine would leave some sunflower hearts for the birds! I've tried the "squirrel proof" feeders but they still manage to "break in". Something I didn't know about them is that they eat fungi! I have a bit of film I took of one eating fungi. It looked really weird.

Weather's awful in Dorset as well... hope it improves soon (north and south)! By the way, are you anywhere near the Cairngorms? You must have some stunning countryside nearby.

Layanee at 'Ledge and Gardens' said...

They are such frenetic little creatures. Even their little jaws move at a quick pace! Nice video and love the allium post also.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

As a near-expert on squirrels in the garden, I can asssure you that you needn't worry about them damaging the plants when they bury the peanuts. It's only when things are 1st planted that the squirrels will dig them out of the ground to put in the peanuts in their places. As has Lisa, I've also had a couple of peanut plants sprout, but I've pulled them out. Are the greys more aggressive than the fox squirrels by you? Here, the fox squirrels are the dominant 1s. I can't get a clear picture of a grey because they run every time I open the door (I've trained them well), but Beggar the fox squirrel is very bold & will not leave unless chased out.

Sue Swift said...

My garden in London has a fair share of squirrel visitors. I know, because I spend much of my time digging up seeding oak trees which have grown from the acorns they've buried and forgotten about.

Barbara said...

So cute! I loved the video and your pictures!! Great! From time to time we have a squirrel in our garden too. But this is rather seldom!

shirl said...

Hi again, Lisa :-)

Thank-you! Yes, I am not sure if the squirrel visiting my garden is a good thing or not. I have been considering your comment. I very seldom see it so its visit was more of a novelty. I didn’t see it all today.

However, I mailed a column in a local newspaper quoting your comment and asking the question to its readers ‘what damage, if any, does a squirrel do by visiting a garden?’ I will take a guess that you would say plenty after reading your comment on Mr McGregor’s Daughter’s post on Squirrels in her Northern Illinois garden :-D Sorry I smiled when I read it :-D

Coming back to my garden it is not likely at all that a peanut would grow here – how interesting to hear they grow in yours. Well, maybe not……… :-D

shirl said...

Hi again, Pete and Jane :-)

Pete – Yes it does… but so do many other animals :-D

Jane – I tend to agree but on the other side I only ever saw red squirrels as a child and they really are quite striking and it is so sad we could lose them completely. In the sixteen years we have been in this garden I have only seen about five visits of a squirrel and three have been in the last ten days. I too have sunflower hearts in the feeders and a squirrel-proof one too – but that was bought more to protect the birds from the Sparrowhawks! I had been putting the peanuts out for the hedgehogs and blackbirds. Funnily enough, I could imagine a squirrel eating fungi :-D Yes, we have had it wet and windy here but it isn’t too cold so that is a bonus! I am south of the Cairngorms but they are only a drive away – yes the scenery there is quite stunning :-D

shirl said...

Hi again, Layanee and Mr McGregor’s Daughter :-)

Layanee – Yes they are. Funnily enough when they were eating and I took photos I thought they were quite still. I then found many photos with a blur! Thanks – I enjoyed making the video especially when I don’t know if I will see the squirrel return. Ah the alliums!! I have been bitten by my own post and have been out at the garden centres picking up allium bulbs at half price – guess what I will be doing this weekend :-D

Mr McGregor’s Daughter – I wish I had seen your post earlier. I have linked to it above in my comment to Lisa. Re plants being dug up I haven’t noticed this before so I am guessing that the squirrel is either completely new to my garden or that my plants have survived the burying of peanuts. As I said in Lisa’s comment it is very unlikely that a peanut would germinate and grow in my garden. We don’t have fox squirrels here. We have our native red squirrel but the grey was introduced (sorry I don’t know when) and is the more aggressive one and sadly the numbers of red squirrels are in serious decline. I took my photos from inside but if I do see the squirrel again I will go outside with my camera but I have a feeling it will also run! I’d love to see photos of Beggar, your fox squirrel :-D

shirl said...

Hi again, Sue and Barbara :-)

Sue – Yes, the cities do seem to get lots of grey squirrels. Funnily enough growing up in the countryside it was always the red I saw and I was amazed to see the grey on a visit to Edinburgh! I have to say I smiled at you digging up oak tree seedlings – perhaps the squirrels are planning for a greener future :-D

Barbara – Thank-you! I wondered if the squirrel visited Switzerland – it seems it is quite widespread. Yes, I too seldom see it visit my garden that was why I enjoyed posting this visit. I have to say when I was out buying sunflower hearts today I also picked up a squirrel feeder. My thoughts were if it was to visit and have its own food source it wouldn’t bother the birds etc. I hadn’t read my comments then so I’m not sure whether to put it up or take it back. I don’t want my garden to be invaded by squirrels either. Mmm perhaps I should look on the wildlife forums :-D

Robin's Nesting Place said...

That is such a cute squirrel. The squirrels here in my area are so ugly. Your squirrel is more like the ones we had in Alabama. If they are cute they are more tolerable aren't they.

I love the video! I'm going to have to learn how to do that one of these days.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Shirl - the grey squirrel had to be introduced to Great Britain b4 1911 (that's when Beatrix Potter published her story about a grey squirrel). I think the red squirrels are cuter, with the tufts of hair by their ears. I hope they can be saved. I posted a photo of a peanut in a hole in the garden & my 1st photo of Beggar the squirrel when it came to the patio door looking for food. http://mcgregorsdaughter.blogspot.com/2007/10/squirrelhaven.html

Catherine said...

Awwww...but he's sooo cute!!
Great capture's & video!!
Have a great weekend Shirl!
Cat

shirl said...

Hi again, Robin, Mr McGregor’s Daughter and Cat :-)

Robin – I think so too although the red squirrel looks better. Yes, its appearance definitely does make a difference :-D Thanks - the videos are really fun to do the only problem is the quality after processing. I would definitely recommend trying it though :-D

Mr McGregor’s Daughter – Yes, I never thought of Beatrix and I agree that suggests the grey squirrel has been here for some time. I hope the red survives too as I said above I only knew it as a child and the grey was a novelty when I first saw it in the city of Edinburgh. Many grey squirrels are now seen in Edinburgh Botanical Gardens running up and down the large trees. Children are always seen feeding them (carefully as they can bite) and I believe shortbread is the favourite there! Looking at your link I smiled when I saw you have named your garden ‘Squirrelhaven’ but respectfully they understand you are the boss! Lovely photo with your son :-D

Cat – It does look cute but I am having trouble deciding if I should encourage it or not! It could bring its mates and then they might run amok as they did in Mr McGregor’s Daughter’s garden. I don’t want that either. The occasional visit would be fine. We saw it this afternoon and that is the first time we have seen it since Thursday. Thanks – I was pleased with my photos even though they are not too sharp after being taken through the window. I have much to learn with my camera :-D BTW I love your latest snow shots but I especially like the ones of it melting with all the reflections and light – great job :-D Thank-you I will - we have snow forecasted! Enjoy your weekend too :-D

healingmagichands said...

Our grey squirrels bury black walnuts and acorns in my garden. so in the spring I get to dig out dozens of volunteer weed trees. I guess the peanuts don't grow when planted.

shirl said...

Hi again, Healing magic hands :-)

Yes, I have now heard many stories about plants growing thanks to the squirrel - perhaps it’s not all bad! I have never seen evidence of this in my garden and peanuts would definitely not germinate outside here.

Thanks for sharing what they do in your Missouri garden :-D