Red Squirrels on Red Bank
Red Squirrels are one of the UK's best loved species and thanks to careful conservation and habitat management numbers appear to be on the rise. Autumn is an ideal time for sightings as they are gathering supplies for winter and there are fewer leaves on the trees.
In the past there have been fears for the population due to the arrival of the non-native, larger, American grey squirrel in the 1870s. The grey squirrel would out compete for food and also transmit the squirrel poxvirus which is lethal to the red squirrel. As a lifelong Lake District resident I had never actually seen one in the South Lakes, plenty of grey ones and one sighting further north after being awoken at 5am whilst on holiday but never in my own backyard. Over the past two weeks whilst driving over Red Bank which runs between The Good Life office in Elterwater and 4 of our properties in Grasmere I have been lucky enough to see not one but two on consecutive weeks. I plan to take a walk in order to capture this what I consider to be almost magical creature on camera.
To help conservation and ensure a future for this quintessential English character you can report any red squirrels you see to: http://westmorlandredsquirrels.org.uk. I feel privileged to have spotted two and hope that future generations can also experience a heart-warming encounter with a real life Beatrix Potter favourite Squirrel Nutkin whilst out and about in the Autumnal Lake District countryside.