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Saturday, 19 March 2011

Glen Affric Squirrel Survey Map Update

I've just loaded this updated map to the
Glen Affric Squirrel Survey Page

My initial aim is to establish presence/absence of Red Squirrels across the area which is currently under recorded and officially listed as sparsely populated.

This is clearly not the case as shown by the areas that I have so far covered. In February I searched further south west beyond Hilton and Plodda Falls, and everywhere there is suitable habitat and food supply I have found recent evidence of occupation.

In the last couple of years there has been considerable felling of trees to the east of Hilton which has dispersed Squirrels into surrounding areas, particularly the mature Norway Spruce to the east of Plodda Falls.

2010 was my first year in Glen Affric so I can't make comparisons with previous observations but in this area Red Squirrels are predominately feeding on Norway Spruce and Larch.

Seasonal crops are Hazel and Beech in the autumn, plus green Norway Spruce, Douglas and Scots Pine cones throughout the summer.

Fungi, fresh shoots etc. are eaten when available and occasionally Sitka Spruce cones.

Squirrel presence is governed by suitable habitat, food availability and lack of disturbance and I believe that further observation will prove them to be present across the whole of the Glen Affric area where these conditions exist.

Unfortunately, because they spend a large proportion of their time in the crowns of Norway Spruce they are not often seen and Dreys are mostly invisible. They become more obvious in the autumn when there are young Squirrels dispersing and also when there is a general movement towards roadside hazel crops.

Images: Middle - Larch
            Bottom - Norway Spruce
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This web site is about the wildlife, particularly the mammals, of the Glen Affric National Nature Reserve area in the north west Highlands of Scotland, UK; and the equipment I use to search for them, which is chiefly trail cameras.

I provide a technical support and parts service for the Ltl Acorn range of cameras and the income from this provides for the upkeep of this site and the purchase of cameras for my own surveying.

I hope you find the site useful and informative; and please contact me if you have any questions that I haven't already covered.