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.

6 comments:

HappyMouffetard said...

How wonderful! Enjoy your special visitors.

Sue Garrett said...

I love watching squirrels burying nuts when they finish by patting the soil down.

Lisa Greenbow said...

Your squirrels will never leave. Why would they?? A smorgasbord of vittles, water and some shelter. Nope, they have found heaven on earth.

Brian Skeys said...

Wonderful!

Midmarsh John said...

Goodness me. You will soon have a colony on your doorstep. That bodes well for their survival.
I must have a go with the clothes peg trick here with the greys. I have to throw away many peanuts from the mesh feeder as they get damp and go mouldy very quickly these damp days.
Had to smile about the Magpie watching. Here it's been the Magpies which have buried peanuts in the garden.

Shirley said...

Hello again to you all, thanks for visiting and taking time to leave comments at this busy time of year :-)

HM, hello again :-) This is indeed a wonderful time for the garden. Thanks, we are all really are enjoying this. I’m no longer the main window watcher ;-)

Sue, I love that too. They pat, pat, pat very efficiently don’t they. I hope to catch some video of this but for once my ground cover planting is hampering image captures instead of enhancing them. I have a plan for this though ;-)

Lisa, yes, I’m thinking their visits could last a while, for now at least. We are seeing it/them every day when there is someone at home to notice it. With the feeder deliberately placed opposite the kitchen window we all get a good chance to see this wonderful garden visitor.

Brian, It, really, really is! I could never have guessed 10 years of blogging could come to this. Beginning with just one hanging feeder and a bird table (for my daughter’s school project) a few months before I started this blog we have seen so many wildlife visitors that I’d never seen (noticed) or had any idea of ID. Blogging (especially when you take record photographs) truly is a great way to discover and appreciate wildlife and with this new a new planting pallet came to my garden and the enjoyment of a small, town garden has become that of a nature reserve to me. You can have a wildlife garden without your garden being completely wild too. Wonderful all round :-D

John, Goodness me indeed! I genuinely cannot believe how lucky we are at the moment to be seeing these regular visitors. Perhaps at some point they will stop, but we are enjoying them for now! It does, absolutely, bode well for their survival. Knowing there is less time for reading blogs at this time of year (I’m trying to complete the year with a few more images and stories for a photo book!) my hope for this post was that it would help someone else with getting squirrels to use a feeder. I’m thrilled that it has caught your eye and you are going to give it a try – job done ;-) I hate the waste of peanuts especially. I look forward to reading and seeing images of your success with the clothes peg. The proper fun images next will be of the squirrel fully in the feeder :-) Our peanuts are going down past the point of an easy stretch it to access them. I’ve yet to capture images of it getting fully inside which my ‘at home studying for uni exams’ daughter has told me she’s seen. It needs a bright day too, but, I like an image capture challenge and I’m sure the red squirrel will oblige one day :-D