Saturday, June 7, 2008

RDW and Stave Hill last Saturday

In the second of these photos I had watched a squirrel in the RDW pick up some discarded rubbish and run up a tree with it, where he proceeded to try and eat it. In the end he dropped it in disgust - it turned out to be a cardboard ice-lolly wrapper that someone had thrown onto the grass.

On a superficial level I very much like squirrels. They are attractive and engaging. But there are two completely opposing camps on the subject, with some people regarding them as attractive members of the wildlife community, and others taking the firm line (along with the RSPCA, I believe) that they are vermin. Their less attractive behaviour includes stealing baby birds and bird eggs and chewing through tree bark making the tree susceptible to disease. They are not indigenous to Great Britain - they were introduced in the late 1800s from America. The American Grey Squirrel replaced the indigenous Red Squirrel, which remains common only large numbers in Scotland, with a few surviving in outposts like the island of Anglesey. Where grey squirrels breed in large numbers they can have an impact on woodland management. I've done some serious wandering in the RDW in the last couple of weeks and I cannot see any evidence of bark stripping.

The photograph of the damson fly was taken at Downtown Pond by the Redriff bridge. There were others coloured electric blue, but they were much smaller and faster and eluded all attempts to be captured on camera. The wing markings of this one are particularly attractive.

The final photograph was taken in Stave Hill Ecological Park.

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