Monday, 23 June 2008

Table for one

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.

Red squirrel 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.

16 comments:

Lisa at Greenbow said...

The video of the Red Squirrels is funny. Seeing them chase around is so typical.

That Jay is gorgeous. What a great sighting.

Nancy J. Bond said...

That jay is so beautiful, and so different from the blue jays we have here in Nova Scotia. (http://tinyurl.com/5bfh9j)
Great video!

Lynmiranda said...

Lovely Video of the Red Squirrel and the Jay.

garden girl said...

Great video Shirl. The squirrels are acting just like the squirrels in my backyard.

The jay is a beautiful bird. How thrilling it must have been to not only see it, but also capture video of it.

Debbie said...

Great video, Shirl. We have Red and Gray Squirrels and even a small population of white squirrels which must be a mutation of the gray. I love how the red will chase each other around.

Your Jay is gorgeous. Much different than the Blue Jays we have here in NY, USA.

easygardener said...

I regularly get a pair of Jays in the garden - they are very attractive if rather gluttonous.
I've watched one on the bird table take 18 peanuts at a sitting (it happened so often that I started to count how many). It then flew away with a 19th in its beak!

Mo said...

That was so funny watching the other red running around the tree. Great footage of the jay too.

It's a bit further north from you but do you know the peregrine quarry near Huntley? There's a hide there where you can get ringside seats of red squirrels. I got some great photos last summer.

Barbara said...

You could could name this video "the shy curious and the brave squirrel" ;-)! It was funny to watch them! I didn't know the jay to be so big!

Jan said...

Hey Shirl, loved the squirrel vid. I am trying desperately to keep up with my favourite blogs, just seem to run out of time lately, not on the pc quite so much this time of year. I do look at yours, but may not always comment. Still lovin' it. :o)

shirl said...

Hi again Lisa, Nancy, Lynmiranda, garden girl, Debbie, easygardener, Mo, Barbara and Jan :-)

Lisa – I thought so too. I was lucky to catch one running without having to follow it the camera. The internet compression of film isn’t forgiving of fast action film! I loved the Jay too – I was very lucky to be at the right place for its visit! I have loved seeing all the places wrens have been nesting in your garden. Looking forward to more photos. Have a good weekend :-D

Nancy – I agree, although looking at the photo on your link I think the ones you have are quite stunning too! Thanks, I do love to capture action film. Have a good weekend :-D

Lynmiranda – Thank-you, I was thrilled to capture it and look at it often. Have a good weekend :-D

Garden girl – Thank-you! Yes, I would imagine squirrels could be very entertaining in your garden. I was thrilled to see the Jay let alone capture video of it. I could have tried to follow it with my camera but it was so quick not staying in one place for long. I was just very lucky to have the camera watching this feeder! Have a good weekend :-D

Debbie – Thank-you. Gosh that’s quite a community of squirrels you have! I’d guess that your white squirrels are either albino (no pigments) or if you can see faint markings on them they are likely to be leucistic (no dark pigments). The red were fun to watch – so fast too! Yes, the Jay is quite a handsome bird however your Jays are quite stunning too! Have a good weekend :-D

Easygardener – Yes, living in the South East of England I would guess you would see a lot more Jays than we do here in Perthshire. I don’t know the first thing about them – their size firstly was a shock. However, even the Jackdaws don’t take that many peanuts! What a peanut marathon that was – maybe he was going away for a few days lol. Have a good weekend :-D

Mo – I enjoyed it too and of course that wasn’t the only tree the red squirrels were chasing around. They are so quick. Yes, the Jay was a treat even though it was through the ‘fingered’ glass window. I was just in the right place at the time. I have had a look at area you mentioned. Yes, it is quite far North but if I am ever in that area I will pop by to see if I can get some photos too. Thanks for that. Have a good weekend :-D

Barbara – Yes, I had quite a few title thoughts on this one. I had filmed a few moments with the squirrels on this tree and was chatting to people at the same time (sometimes why the background sounds are removed and replaced with music). I didn’t realise at the time that I had such an entertaining piece of film. Yes, the size of the Jay was a surprise to me at the time too. However it wasn’t until I was editing my film that I got the real shock when I saw its size compared to the squirrel! Have a good weekend :-D

Jan – Hello again :-D Thanks, glad you enjoyed it. Oh… I completely understand I have been struggling (and failing) for ages to keep up with my favourite blogs too. I am also struggling to keep up with my own postings. Even burning the midnight oil isn’t getting me there! It is this time of year for sure. Others have said the same. From time to time I do pop by yours too and often when I get comments I pop by to see what is going on as I answer them. I see you have young blue tits at your feeders - lovely shots. I have been seeing that myself the last few days. Unfortunately it has been raining I have been unable to get out with my camera or video. I would like to capture the birds being fed but I think that time has passed now. Ah well. Have a good weekend :-D

Perennial Gardener said...

What wonderful wildlife pictures. I've enjoyed reading your blog. Thanks for faving me!

Annie in Austin said...

I knew there was an English robin and that settlers in America named the American robin after the one they knew from Europe - but didn't know about the Jay. Do you think the American Jays were named after this one because of their color? Your Jay is a beautiful bird, Shirl.

Our Blue Jays are rather loud and rowdy fellows with pointed crests, but I'm quite fond of them and put their photo on my blog banner.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Layanee said...

Shirl: Too funny! Very entertaining also!

shirl said...

Hi again Annie & Layanee and Hello Perennial Gardener :-D

Perennial Gardener – Thank-you, although I cannot take credit for the Wikipedia ones. You are most welcome! It is good to hear that you enjoyed your visit here. Have a great weekend :-D

Annie – I am not sure at all on the story of the Jay’s. Yours is much bluer so perhaps the European one was named after it. It is interesting how the names come about though isn’t it? I think the Jay’s are troublesome here too but they are definitely well like too. Ah yes… looking at your banner they do like they could cause some mischief ;-) Have a great weekend :-D

Layanee – it was funny,glad you enjoyed it. However the crushed peanuts in a feeder in the garden is proving very entertaining too as many birds try to work out how to get in it. Only the blue tits have managed so far. I have to get video footage of this too! Have a great weekend :-D

Kathryn/plantwhateverbringsyoujoy.com said...

Hi, Shirl, I must echo Nancy's comments. Have you happened to see my posts on Western ScrubJays? I think you would appreciate. :) Kathryn xox

Border Reiver said...

Great having Jays in your garden Shirl, a much overlooked bird indeed, oh how I wish they'd come to my feeders.