Arnside and beyond

By gladders

Harvesting the mast

The grey squirrels were busy harvesting the beech mast this evening. My attention was drawn by the rain of husks dropping down as they extracted the seeds.

Less than twenty years ago, red squirrels were found around Arnside and Silverdale, but they have been entirely replaced now by the non-native greys. The greys carry a pox virus to which they are resistant, but to the reds it is lethal in most cases. As a consequence, the arrival of the greys usually means the native reds are doomed. The greys are continuing their relentless march across Cumbria and the reds continue to retreat.

The greys around us are not like urban squirrels, they are nervous and difficult to approach. So this one was high up in the beech tree and keeping a wary eye on me.

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