Seeing red (part 2)

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about having seen (or at least thinking I’d seen) a red squirrel.

Although I wasn’t entirely sure that I’d been correct in my identification, having only seen it fleetingly and more-or-less out of the corner of my eye, comments from a few other people who live in the area confirmed at least the possibility of it having been a red squirrel.

Today I saw another one and this time I saw it clearly enough to be sure.

I had a dentist’s appointment this afternoon in Menai Bridge, just after 3pm. As it happens, it was a bit snowy this morning so I walked into work instead of cycling. In order to get to the dentist on time, I went straight there after finishing work (having already arranged to take the afternoon off for it) and when I’d finished (actually a few minutes before the appointment was due, as I’d arrived a bit early and they had a gap) I called in at Waitrose to pick up a bottle of milk and a cup of coffee, then walked back through the woods as I usually do when I’ve been shopping there.

As I walked through the woods, enjoying the many birds that were relatively visible due to the absence of leaves on most of the trees (it being essentially a deciduous woodland), I spotted a squirrel climbing up the trunk of a tree a few yards in front of me. It was unmistakeably red, although not quite as much smaller than a typical grey squirrel as I’d expected.

The initial view was the clearest but only lasted for about 10 seconds before it had climbed the trunk and disappeared into the branches at the top. However, I waited patiently for a minute or two before catching sight of it again and then was able to watch it (intermittently) for several minutes.

For most of the time, the squirrel remained quite high in the trees, and in fairly deep shade, so it was only the first sight of it that enabled me to clearly identify it as a red.

As well as the excitement of seeing a red squirrel in the wild, I had a short conversation with a random stranger as a lady walking through the woods spotted me staring intently into the trees and wanted to know what I’d seen. Apparently she’s a fairly regular visitor to these woods and she said that she’s seen red squirrels here before, but not for several months.

I’ve been vaguely keeping a watch for red squirrels whenever I’ve walked in these particular woods over the last several years. Now that I know for definite that there’s at least one there, I hope I’ll get to see it (and perhaps more) again before too long.