Visitors

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brynpoeth
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Re: Visitors

Postby brynpoeth » 23 Sep 2018, 8:03pm

mercalia wrote:
brynpoeth wrote:Exotic animals cause a lot of trouble Down Under, there are plans to eradicate some of them

Vultures are among my favourites, they tidy away the mess left by others, are there any in West West Wales?


You mean bankers? I thought they were all in London

No no, I mean the birds that eat rotten meat, they have special digestive systems and doubtless enjoy it
Have you seen one in London?
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661-Pete
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Re: Visitors

Postby 661-Pete » 23 Sep 2018, 8:07pm

Five pages already, all about squirrels! Astounding!

No fan of Greys here: they actually first appeared on the scene in Britain around 1870, as free-roaming pets. Not surprisingly, they became naturalised. Many introductions of other non-native species have gone unremarked, but this particular one aroused alarm very quickly, once it was realised that it was displacing the native species. I have never seen a Red Squirrel in south-east England: I'm certain they don't occur hereabouts any more.

I'm in two minds as to whether Greys should be controlled - let alone exterminated. In most situations they aren't a serious pest. Just a sad example of 'Darwinism' at work.

The 'pine marten' solution looks encouraging. They are predators on both species of squirrel, but the Red, being smaller and lighter, is able to venture out onto the thinner ends of branches where the marten can't catch it. The Grey Squirrel, being heavier, can't - so it ends up as supper. A good 'natural' solution - if it works.

To see Red Squirrels in any quantity, I have to cross over to France. Plenty there - although less common than the Grey is in England. Delightfully agile little creatures!
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Vorpal
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Re: Visitors

Postby Vorpal » 23 Sep 2018, 8:12pm

I saw quite a few red squirrels when walking Hadrian's Wall, and also in the Peak District. I've one a time of two in Suffolk, but mostly, I've seen grey ones there. I've also seen at least one in Norfolk, but I think it was living near the cottage we stayed at a couple of times. That was, admittedly a few years ago.
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kwackers
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Re: Visitors

Postby kwackers » 23 Sep 2018, 9:02pm

661-Pete wrote:
I'm in two minds as to whether Greys should be controlled - let alone exterminated. In most situations they aren't a serious pest. Just a sad example of 'Darwinism' at work.

The 'pine marten' solution looks encouraging. They are predators on both species of squirrel, but the Red, being smaller and lighter, is able to venture out onto the thinner ends of branches where the marten can't catch it. The Grey Squirrel, being heavier, can't - so it ends up as supper. A good 'natural' solution - if it works.

Which suggests if the pine marten becomes more widespread that grey squirrels will likely become smaller...

mercalia
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Re: Visitors

Postby mercalia » 23 Sep 2018, 9:43pm

661-Pete wrote:Five pages already, all about squirrels! Astounding!

No fan of Greys here: they actually first appeared on the scene in Britain around 1870, as free-roaming pets. Not surprisingly, they became naturalised. Many introductions of other non-native species have gone unremarked, but this particular one aroused alarm very quickly, once it was realised that it was displacing the native species. I have never seen a Red Squirrel in south-east England: I'm certain they don't occur hereabouts any more.

I'm in two minds as to whether Greys should be controlled - let alone exterminated. In most situations they aren't a serious pest. Just a sad example of 'Darwinism' at work.

The 'pine marten' solution looks encouraging. They are predators on both species of squirrel, but the Red, being smaller and lighter, is able to venture out onto the thinner ends of branches where the marten can't catch it. The Grey Squirrel, being heavier, can't - so it ends up as supper. A good 'natural' solution - if it works.

To see Red Squirrels in any quantity, I have to cross over to France. Plenty there - although less common than the Grey is in England. Delightfully agile little creatures!


and then will the pine martins become a pest once they have eaten all the squirrels? go after birds? are they native to this country? do foxes go after them? will all the squirrels end up in cities?

mercalia
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Re: Visitors

Postby mercalia » 23 Sep 2018, 9:49pm

kwackers wrote:
661-Pete wrote:
I'm in two minds as to whether Greys should be controlled - let alone exterminated. In most situations they aren't a serious pest. Just a sad example of 'Darwinism' at work.

The 'pine marten' solution looks encouraging. They are predators on both species of squirrel, but the Red, being smaller and lighter, is able to venture out onto the thinner ends of branches where the marten can't catch it. The Grey Squirrel, being heavier, can't - so it ends up as supper. A good 'natural' solution - if it works.

Which suggests if the pine marten becomes more widespread that grey squirrels will likely become smaller...


or bigger with nasty longer claws. Those squirrels videos suggest they might adapt as they seem very clever animals. maybe lure the martens into .........

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661-Pete
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Re: Visitors

Postby 661-Pete » 23 Sep 2018, 11:28pm

mercalia wrote: and then will the pine martins become a pest once they have eaten all the squirrels? go after birds? are they native to this country?
Answer: yes: in Scotland at least. In most of England they are believed to have existed formerly but are now virtually extinct. If they are brought in, it would be a re-introduction - very different to what happened with the Grey Squirrel.
will all the squirrels end up in cities?
They already are. :?
Suppose that this room is a lift. The support breaks and down we go with ever-increasing velocity.
Let us pass the time by performing physical experiments...
--- Arthur Eddington (creator of the Eddington Number).

mercalia
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Re: Visitors

Postby mercalia » 24 Sep 2018, 7:51am

661-Pete wrote:
mercalia wrote: and then will the pine martins become a pest once they have eaten all the squirrels? go after birds? are they native to this country?
Answer: yes: in Scotland at least. In most of England they are believed to have existed formerly but are now virtually extinct. If they are brought in, it would be a re-introduction - very different to what happened with the Grey Squirrel.
will all the squirrels end up in cities?
They already are. :?


so what killed the martens off?

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Re: Visitors

Postby Vorpal » 24 Sep 2018, 8:52am

There are Pine Martens in Wales, as well. https://www.vwt.org.uk/projects-all/pin ... y-project/

The biggest threat to them is humans, especially farmers and game keepers, who don't want them eating game birds and eggs.

I saw one in Denmark some years ago. I had never heard of them before then.
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Cugel
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Re: Visitors

Postby Cugel » 24 Sep 2018, 8:56am

Ben@Forest wrote:
Cugel wrote:Ha - acres & acres of desolate evergreen clad slopes all over the place. Nothing much lives in them and the timber they produce is far from durable. Get some oak planted, man!

I'm very interested in the realities of the British timber market. Like all markets today it seems full of poor practices - unsustainable, monocultural, short-termist and generally a source of ecological degradation. Perhaps there is a better way? Perhaps the better ways were once known but are now forgot? On the other hand, the Scandinavians seem rather better at it. But then the softwoods they grow are native to their lands, unlike most of ours. Grey-squirrel trees, we might say, are growing in Blighty and ousting the poor oaks ... even the proper pines. :-)

Now, how about the reality that we humans are making a seriously bad mess of various ecologies? I suspect that you yourself may have no interest in this reality, eh? It might require a reduction in the timber business; or at least a serious change to it's poor practices.

The thing about reality is that it doesn't care whether we humans differ or not about what it is - it will deal with us, willy-nilly, all in the same way.


Funnily enough l have some sympathy for this point of view but again it's a choice. We grow softwood because it's quick and convenient but it's not our fault (as in anyone alive today) we are such a deforested country.
That's the fault of people alive from Neolithic times to around the 19th century when Britain was divested of its woodland - and mostly by Neolithic man not Henry VIII or even WW1. Heard of the Forests of Knaresborough or Craven? If not I'm not surprised - they had been felled to extinction by the 13th century. The Forest of Galtres outside York was effectively gone by the 17th century.

The idea that our ancestors did things better or more sustainably is hogwash. They felled woodland to graze domestic livestock and turned anything they could to farmland, and because we have a very benign environment that meant most of our woods were felled.

In fact we have been the best stewards of forestry for many centuries. At the end of the Victorian era our woodland cover was less than 5%. Now 120 odd years later our woodland cover is approaching 15%, so we've tripled it. Yes, a lot of it is non-native but we at least supply a better proportion of.our timber needs.


You're right - civilised humans have always been despoilers; it's a sad aspect of civilisation that its great advantages have another side to the golden coin of their largesse - we make everything else on the planet pay for our fine comforts and toys.

I am aware of the attempts to form better policies concerning woodlands. Some of them do look to the past - to the coppice wood traditions and other sustainable woodland practices, for example, that also encourage diversity and an ability to tolerate what you have called "pests". Even some governments are beginning to see that longer term policies that reduce human management of the solely exploitative kind are practical as well as desirable for the wider commonweal.

Yet the pressure to plant fast-growth mono-cultural "crops" of softwoods is still there. One need only cycle about the various tree-growing areas to see it. I hope the moves to plant a more varied and sustainable woodland goes on. I would like to see "rewilding" take off as a popular strategy. I won't hold my breath, especially post-Breixit when Blighty is sold off to the various "inward investors" at a rate even greater than the present sell-off.

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Cugel
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Re: Visitors

Postby Cugel » 24 Sep 2018, 9:02am

661-Pete wrote:......

I'm in two minds as to whether Greys should be controlled - let alone exterminated. In most situations they aren't a serious pest. Just a sad example of 'Darwinism' at work.

........

To see Red Squirrels in any quantity, I have to cross over to France. Plenty there - although less common than the Grey is in England. Delightfully agile little creatures!


Alas, evolution has no intent of the human kind nor any of our aesthetic predilections. Sometimes there are cute things but often not. Even the odd human can be cute although most are .... something else.

So, don't be sad. Gaia will not notice anyway, so you won't get a cuddle from her! Perhaps evolution will apply a purge to the human pests and we two will be amongst the lucky survivors left to watch the rewilding? But that's probably just my own wish-for-cute, eh? :-)

Cugel, also liking the gothic (just as well).

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al_yrpal
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Re: Visitors

Postby al_yrpal » 24 Sep 2018, 10:02am

I remember getting within touching distance of a red at Parkhurst Hide on the Isle of Wight. They put food in the hide for the squirrels who dash in just feet from you and grab it.

Pine Martins are very rare, to hope that they will somehow control the number of greys within any realistic timescale is doomed. What might work long term is to classify greys as a pest above a line across Northern England and thus eventually eradicate them from 'red' territory.

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thirdcrank
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Re: Visitors

Postby thirdcrank » 24 Sep 2018, 10:29am

I'm pretty sure that this isn't the first grey squirrel thread we've had. For decades, the ministry of agriculture in its various incarnations had policies for their eradication, including bounties on tails and a duty on the occupiers of land to report their presence. It didn't work and was scrapped a couple of years ago.

Anybody deciding to deal with them themselves has to be aware that they may only be killed by humane means including shooting, lethal traps or clubbing. :shock: Or destruction by a vet. As they are an alien species they cannot be caught and released elsewhere.

PDQ Mobile
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Re: Visitors

Postby PDQ Mobile » 24 Sep 2018, 10:56am

Reasons for species decline are often very complex.
The last Red Squirrel I saw in mainland Wales was in the early 1960's at Devils Bridge.
Since then the Grey, which I had more or less hand fed in English city parks at that time, has become ever more numerous in the Western Oakwoods.

Angelsey has a small population of Reds. This survival on islands away from the Grey is interesting.
Squirrel Pox? Food competition? Outright aggression?

In a somewhat shorter timespan (since late70's) the Curlew has gone from being the dominant sound on a spring evening, surely many scores of breeding birds, to a call hardly ever heard on the same hillside.
Yet at the same time, on the same hill its probable predators the Fox, Weasel and Stoat have also become rather rare.
It is now some years since I saw either of the Mustellines and their disappearance is a puzzle, given the excessive vole and mouse populations. Twenty years ago a sighting two or three times a year was normal.
(The Fox is still hated and hunted mercilessly in sheep farming areas, though in my (unpopular) opinion far more lambs are lost through poor husbandry than to "Reynard"!))

The Grey's guilt in totally wasting the Hazelnut bounty is beyond question. They will strip every nut from a bush even well before the nuts are ripe.
I think the Red was more of a nut hoarder in it's habit. Therefore ripe nuts were taken because they store better. The forgotten (squirrel brain!) buried hoard, then led to hazel regeneration.

One species that has increased in the same time span is the unwelcome Sheep Tick, and I have often wondered if the decline in ALL the aforementioned ground dwellers/nesters is in some way (disease or just high levels of the parasites?) connected?
Last edited by PDQ Mobile on 24 Sep 2018, 1:13pm, edited 2 times in total.

mercalia
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Re: Visitors

Postby mercalia » 24 Sep 2018, 11:40am

PDQ Mobile wrote:Reasons for species decline are often very complex.
The last Red Squirrel I saw in mainland Wales was in the early 1960's at Devils Bridge.
Since then the Grey, which I had more or less hand fed in English city parks at that time, has become ever more numerous in the Western Oakwoods.

Angelsey has a small population of Reds. This survival on islands away from the Grey is interesting.
Squirrel Pox? Food completion? Outright aggression?

In a somewhat shorter timespan (since late70's) the Curlew has gone from being the dominant sound on a spring evening, surely many scores of breeding birds, to a call hardly ever heard on the same hillside.
Yet at the same time on the same hill it's probable predators the Fox, Weasel and Stoat have also become rather rare.
It is now some years since I saw either of the Mustellines and there disappearance is a puzzle given the excessive vole and mouse populations. Twenty years ago a sighting two or three times a year was normal.
(The Fox is still hated and hunted mercilessly in sheep farming areas, though in my (unpopular) opinion far more lambs are lost through poor husbandry than to "Reynard"!))

The Grey's guilt in totally wasting the Hazelnut bounty is beyond question. They will strip every nut from a bush even well before the nuts are ripe.
I think the Red was more of a nut hoarder in it's habit. Therefore ripe nuts were taken because they store better. The forgotten (squirrel brain!) buried hoard, then led to hazel regeneration.

One species that has increased in the same time span is the unwelcome Sheep Tick, and I have often wondered if the decline in ALL the aforementioned ground dwellers/nesters is in some way (disease or just high levels of the parasites?) connected?


maybe the reds deserve to die out? maybe not so clever as the greys? I would rather have a clever grey in my garden than a stupid red any day
Last edited by mercalia on 24 Sep 2018, 11:47am, edited 2 times in total.