Last week I visited the Scottish Wildlife Reserve at Loch of the Lowes to see if I could capture the red squirrel on video. This reserve has a good sized viewing window looking out to feeders on trees and on the ground. I have seen squirrels there before however I was to get quite a surprise, like others looking out, to see who else visited that day.
Although my film was taken through the window and isn’t as clear as it would have been from outside this is the closest I could film these feeders. The moment is still captured and I also saw a bird that I had never seen before – the Jay. I had no idea at all that the jay was as big as this!
You can see a size comparison in the photos below in screen captures from my video. You can also see how they both compared to the size of a great tit too. How lucky was I to have my camera set for this feeder at the time!!
After feeding where the squirrel had been the Jay dropped to the ground, picked up a nut and jumped up again to a branch to eat for a moment before taking it away. A short moment later and it was on the ground drinking from a dish of water before flying off again.
The Jay is really quite a striking looking bird and the photo below taken from Wikipedia shows it much clearer than any of my images. I probably won’t see one of these birds again to get a photo myself. The red squirrel photo is also another wonderful image from Wikipedia.
Jay photo: author and details see here.
Finally, I heard something interesting on the recent BBC Springwatch programme about the red squirrel making a small come back on the grey squirrels. Apparently a predator of the red squirrel is also helping it out. The pine marten (which has also been seen at this reserve) is finding the larger and heavier grey squirrel an easier prey to catch! It’s fascinating how nature turns around isn’t it?
The photo montage and video shown above were taken at Loch of the Lowes on June 18th 2008.