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Frosty Squirrels and Cresty's

I woke to a very very frosty morning, -5 to be precise, a walk with our dog Islay first thing which proved quite tricky on the lane, it was like an ice rink, before heading off to watch the Red squirrels and Crested tits again. The light was significantly better, plenty of layers to ensure I kept warm, we'll be fine when I say we, I'd asked my friend Linda if she wanted to join me for another trip, along with another good friend Paul Hackett.

With bird seed, nuts, and Feldy golden balls packed, along with my camera this week, we headed off.

We arrived at the car park, it was freezing, but a nice brisk walk would warm us up, however, we chose to walk down the beach, which was frozen! There were plenty of Gulls on the estuary along with Sanderling, Redshank, America Wigeon, Oystercatchers, and several Herons to name just a few species.

Time to press on for what we'd come for, and get set up, on arrival all the feeders were full, given the frosty weather, which was brilliant to see. We weren't the first to arrive there was a gentleman already there, happily snapping away, we discovered he had traveled almost 2 hours to see the crested tits and it was due to Linda's post on a local Facebook group. Cameras at the ready, Paul set his scope up to Phonescope them, he chose a much better spot than I had chosen the previous week, to say he was happy was an understatement, getting some fantastic images and videos

Video courtesy of Paul Hackett

Phonescoped with the new Kowa 88 telescope, iPhone 15 pro max & the Kowa smartscope adapter.

Photo Yvonne Longley

These little birds are so beautiful but I find them so difficult to photograph as they are such a shy flighty bird. On the other hand, our little squirrel friends were running around getting the nuts chasing each other, and quite close to us at times, very cheeky little characters.

Where will we head next for more wildlife adventures in The Highlands, Paul has some fantastic ideas for some winter locations, keep your eyes peeled to find out where we go and what amazing wildlife we capture.

Here are some Red Squirrel facts you may not know:

The Red Squirrel from head to toe is between 19-23cm, and the tail is additional and can be from 15-20cm, a healthy Red Squirrel weighs between 250-34 gms. Males and females are generally the same size. The long tail helps the Squirrel balance and steer when leaping from tree to tree and running along the branches and may also help keep them warm when asleep.

The Red Squirrels have curved claws which help them climb and descend trees, they are also known to climb house walls and are also able to swim.

A squirrel sheds its coat twice a year, a thicker coat in the winter and a thinner coat in the summer.

The Red Squirrel breeding season is late winter during February and March, the gestation period is about 38/39 days. Squirrels live between 3 and 7 years.

Squirrels' main food is seeds, stripping cones from pine trees, fungi, and nuts, and they especially like hazelnuts, excess food is stored in a cache


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