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Friday, 14 October 2011

Red Squirrel feeding on fungus and Spruce cones

Back in mid September I had started to investigate a section of forest to the south west that I'd not surveyed; and which is geographically more isolated from disturbance than the surrounding areas. There is evidence of more Red Deer than in some other parts and I hope to give this more attention over the winter.

In a mature stand of Norway and Sitka Spruce were plenty of squirrel signs and I set up a couple of cameras to see what was about. The video clip below shows a Red Squirrel feeding on a fungus near the base of a Norway Spruce. When I first looked at the clips I thought I was getting false triggers but realised, on closer inspection, that the squirrel was breaking off pieces of the fungus and disappearing up the tree, only to drop bits from the canopy; which were triggering the camera as they hit the ground. If you watch carefully you'll see this happen part way through the clip.

Ultimately the squirrel pulled the fungus out of the ground, tipped it upside down and demolished it, leaving the scattered remains. While some of the fungus was consumed a large part of it was thrown about and left which had me wondering if this behaviour is an exhibition of what we would refer to as playing.

Green Sitka Spruce cone partially fed on by squirrel.

More feeding on Sitka cones. The ones that are almost completely stripped where also green cones.

Here a squirrel had taken a Norway Spruce cone onto a fallen trunk.

and not far away, this pile of Sitka cones, partially hidden under brush at the base of a Sitka have been fed on by either mice or voles. Note the close gnawing off of the scales in contrast to the untidy appearance of squirrel fed cones.

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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.