Tag Archives: grey squirrel

Native State

At what point does a species become a native species? That’s a question that’s been floating around in my mind with increasing frequency today – but does it have a definitive answer? And if not, does that really matter?  The Brown Hare, for example, was introduced to Britain 2000 years ago, but many people think of them  as indigenous wildlife and an iconic component of the British countryside. Fallow Deer were also brought over by the Romans around this time, yet endear themselves to many in the country. But then you have the Grey Squirrel: brought across the pond from the Eastern United States during the 1870s and demonised, justifiably, by most as an invasive species requiring eradication at a cost of many millions of pounds.

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Red Squirrel Resurgence

Spotted today in Cardrona Forest, in the Scottish Borders.
Spotted today in Cardrona Forest, in the Scottish Borders.
Hastily taken as it scampered up the tree sounding alarm calls, despite having its mouth full.
Hastily taken as it scampered up the tree sounding alarm calls, despite having its mouth full.

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Wildlife Sightings in Scotland 2014/15

Almost a year has passed since I posted the results of my Scottish wildlife sightings between 2011 and 2014, so I thought it was about time I provided you with some fresh data.  As you would expect, there have been no seismic shifts in the general fauna seen, however, the composition has certainly altered.  The sightings recorded are of wildlife that I’ve deemed to be noteworthy and does not include common garden birds or any other ubiquitous animals.  It’s by no means scientific, and merely serves to reflect the uncommon wildlife profile of my local area in the Scottish Borders.  Here’s the top 10….

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PINE MARTEN AND RED SQUIRREL SIGHTINGS IN THE SCOTTISH BORDERS

A recent forest stroll in search of Red Squirrels produced a most unexpected encounter, with one of Scotland’s most charismatic animals, the Pine Marten.  I was aware they were back in the region after a 150 year absence, following the publication of a joint study from Scottish Natural Heritage and the Vincent Wildlife Trust, which detailed their sporadic spread across the Tweed Valley over the last few years.  But to spot one, albeit only a fleeting glimpse, was amazing; made all the more unbelievable because it was in daylight. Pine Martens are usually nocturnal and very elusive.

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WILDLIFE SIGHTINGS IN SCOTLAND

Having kept a journal documenting all my wildlife encounters with my country’s less commonly seen fauna for over three years now, I thought it was about time I condensed my notes into some sort of order to give you an idea of what you could expect to see when out and about in the Scottish countryside.  It’s not of course, at all scientific and is predominantly from sightings in the Scottish Borders region, where I live, and the West coast of Scotland.  But hopefully it will give you a useful overview of what our current wildlife is like and should reflect general population numbers in this part of the world.  The percentage against each entry below represents the overall proportion of separate sightings for that animal from the total number of wildlife sightings recorded.  Having crunched the numbers, there are a few surprises in the top 20…….

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NEW UK GOVERNMENT LEGISLATION SET TO PREVENT THE REINTRODUCTION OF WILDLIFE

The Infrastructure Bill proposes to reclassify extinct species as non-native and place them under the same controls as foreign invasive animals are currently subject to, such as the Mink and Grey Squirrel.  It is an issue that will undoubtedly stir up strong feelings as news of the bill filters beyond the confines of Westminster.  If the legislation is passed, it will come at a time when public support for the re-establishment of extinct species is growing.  The first fruits of this policy are already evident with the news that Devon’s recently discovered wild Beavers look set to be captured and placed in captivity, despite a public petition being signed by hundreds of people asking for them to be left in the wild.

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