Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Sadness

You know how it is when you glance up the garden and something's just "not quite right".  That is how it was when Daisy and I returned from our walk yesterday.  I looked up at the squirrel box in the Coppice and knew it didn't look as it should.

Had a closer look, not sure.  Fetched binoculars, very confused.  Got the camera with big lens = very worried.



Fortunately the next two things to happen were helpful;  LP came over to work for the afternoon and I was able to speak to the co-ordinator of the local Red Squirrel group.  As luck would have it she was on her way to our village to see a neighbour so came over to us.  LP climbed long ladders and retrieved the box and Jo inspected the very sad contents.

A male, probably only a couple of years old, no obvious signs of injury but thankfully no sign of the dreaded 'squirrel pox' virus either.  I recognised him, one of our regular visitors.  Dead a couple of days by the look of the body and no indication what caused it.  Unfortunately the Government programme which paid for post mortems has been stopped.  We found out how much it would cost to pay for a private PM but the cost was prohibitive so we will never know.

The box has been thoroughly cleaned, disinfected and replaced.  So very sad, not our finest day in the garden.  There are greys only a couple of miles from here and whilst programmes are in place to "curtail" their spread I fear it is a losing battle.  We have been blessed with almost daily red squirrel visits for the last six years but I've always said it wouldn't last.  Now I worry that will come true sooner rather than later :{









14 comments:

  1. How sad! What a beautiful red your squirrel was.A pity that the government no longer do PMs. Very shortsighted when the red population is under such threat.

    I do hope the box will become home to another red squirrel before too long.

    No reds here, apart from the population on Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour. It is always a thrill to see them when we visit.

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    1. Thanks DW. In truth I'm surprised we had the PM funding for as long as we did. Let's face it, saving a beautiful native mammal isn't very high on any government agenda, there are only 24 species left. The Brownsea ones are fairly safe (I hope) and there's a good population near you on the Isle of Wight.

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  2. Oh, that is so sad Jayne. I so envy you your reds.Wish we could put up a big virtual force field around you to protect them.

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    1. Thanks Jessica, I'd like that force field too :{

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  3. Terrible day Jayne and especially as the populations are under threat from the greys. Hopefully there are more reds in your area and they will move into the box. Take care and enjoy the coming spring.

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    1. Hi Susan, it wasn't our best day :{

      Jo (the co-ordinator) reckoned our box was regularly used due to the nest inside.

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  4. That's terribly sad. What a shame you can't find out why he died. I hope you get many more reds visiting your garden.

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    1. Jo, Management and I talked about paying for the PM but it was silly money.

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  5. Oh, I'm sorry you've lost your little guy. Maybe it was just his time. Hope another one finds a home with you soon.

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    1. Thanks FFG, since then I have seen our other regular visitor but not very often.

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    1. Thanks Jill, it was not a good day at the office :{

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    1. Not a nice experience Sue, thanks for your good wishes.

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