Tuesday, 28 October 2014


A curious red squirrel sticks its nose out of its box to survey its new surroundings having just been brought to the Island from Surrey on Tuesday 28th. I was fortunate in being able to join Richard and Sue Taylor who had just collected the twelve red squirrels from the captive breeding programme at the British Wildlife Centre at Lingfield in Surrey.

Eight red squirrels were put into the two separate release pens in East Mersea with the remaining four animals being taken to the release pen in West Mersea.

Here Richard unscrews the boarded up entrance hole that stopped the squirrels from escaping during the car journey. As time was tight with the daylight fading, there was little time to stand back to see if the squirrels would come out and show themselves. Sadly the only view of one was of the individual in the top picture.

The red squirrels will spend between a week to ten days inside this release pen before being set free. They will be able to come and go as they please with food being provided inside the pen if they feel the need to come back to feed.

These red squirrels join an existing number of previously released animals brought to the Island since the first individual about three years ago. Three were brought to East Mersea earlier in the summer while four were released in the middle of West Mersea. There have been a number of sightings across the Island in the last fortnight of squirrels being seen in various gardens and also one sighting in the country park last week.

Currently the Island is free of grey squirrels - the last individual tracked down the food for the reds inside this release pen at East Mersea back in the spring, which proved handy in detaining it, where it was duly dispatched.

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