Grey squirrel

Cheryl Cronnie, a regular contributor, has spotted and photographed one of our many grey squirrels in an oak tree.

This could be a female with half a dozen kits in a warm, dry nest in a hole, somewhere in the tree or in a drey in its top branches. If so, she’s hungry.

She might be on the way down the tree to find acorns she cached last autumn but she might also be after in-season pickings. There are nutritious bulbs, snake’s head fritillaries and bluebells, under the woodland floor; there are insects leaving hibernation sites among the cracks and fissures of the tree’s bark, and there are tender leaf buds just about everywhere.

It’s too early for the tree to be in flower (oak flowers are a favoured sugar-rich treat for a squirrel) but not to early for highly nutritious, neatly packaged, birds’ eggs.

Let’s hope that the blue tit nest that Cheryl photographed last week is in another tree, preferably one in another part of the reserve.

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