Tag Archives: Grey Squirrel

He’s Got Wandering Eyes

And that’s me being nice about it.

Grey SquirrelAnything with a pretty face… I will tell you about her later. (I have put her up a tree)

FizzHe was looking a bit fragile today so I thought that we could go on a nice walk to see some flowers, he likes flowers.

Lesser Celandine

Lesser Celandine

Lesser CelandineThat was his Lesser Celandine.

FizzHe says this next one takes his breath away.

I thought that was the smoking. (How can something be beautiful when it doesn’t even have big brown eyes?)

Common Field-speedwell

Common Field-speedwell

Common Field-speedwell

Common Field-speedwellThat one is his Common Field-speedwell and I am glad that I am not called a “Common” anything.

Cute DogOne more and then we will get down to business 🙂

This is the one that he is prone to put in his mouth. It is Coltsfoot.



Coltsfoot“Everything is beautiful, in it’s own way… la..di..da..di..da,” except for this next one.

Now I like a drink as much as the next puppy (but I wouldn’t mind if you got me something a bit better than mud)

FizzThe thing is that I can hold my mud and I don’t go making a donkey of myself with every floozy who bats her eyelashes at me.

Okay I will tell you what happened.

She was leaning on a lamp post at the corner of the lane…

Grey Squirrel

Grey Squirrel

Oh me, Oh my…Grey SquirrelCor Blimey! Ain’t you the pretty one.

So I was just wondering…..

Grey SquirrelHow fast can you get up that tree?

Grey Squirrel

Grey Squirrel

Grey Squirrel

Grey Squirrel

Quite fast then.

Faster than me as it turned out.

Grey SquirrelWatch it Mate!

Grey SquirrelSo all’s well that ends well. I just have to sit here now forever.

Grey Squirrel Fizz

You just couldn’t let it LIE, could you?


Grey SquirrelI haven’t posted anything for a couple of days because I have been trying to write a piece and I wrote it badly with anger in my heart. So I deleted it and tried again.

Grey SquirrelOn Tuesday one of my local papers ran this story

Gloucester Citizen: Squirrel Burger Challenge

Okay it is quite a funny story, I can see that. 🙂 I don’t mind people hunting and eating Squirrel, or Deer, Boar or Rabbit. In a perfect world all of our meat would come from the wild and not the farm. You don’t really get more “free range” than that. Unfortunately there are a lot of people and we would run out of wild animals very quickly.

Roadkill is good too.

Grey SquirrelMy beef isn’t with introducing a novelty to promote the festival it is with the repeated lie that Squirrels are destroying our woodlands.

BBC News: Grey Squirrel Burger Contest

We know who is behind that…

With upwards of 100,000 greys estimated to be roaming the Forest of Dean in 2005, the Forestry Commission has admitted the “huge population” is “extremely destructive”.

Grey SquirrelSquirrels, Deer and Rabbits do not “destroy” woodland they impact on the potential yield to us from that woodland. They destroy our profits. It is not the same thing.

Before Man Britain was almost entirely covered in forest and it was full of animals. If Men disappeared from the face of the planet it would very quickly become forested again.

The idea that the only thing protecting our native forest from complete destruction is the brave men of the FC who patrol our woods with guns, risking all to try and hold the animals back….

Oh please 😀

Grey SquirrelDon’t take my word for it. Take a walk around your own local woodland. Is it okay? What you are looking at is the sum total of all the damage that wild animals have ever been able to inflict.

If you are seeing something seriously wrong with your wood then look closer for the activity of Man.

Animals don’t destroy woodland Men do.

Since their foundation in 1919 the FC have converted 25% of our total area of ancient woodland into Plantation on Ancient Woodland Sites. That is hundreds of thousands of acres. I would like to see any animal that could do that much damage to our woods.

Grey SquirrelOne last thing. I introduced the BBC link into this post and included in the link is the comment “But at present the Forestry Commission don’t manage squirrels on their land.” I don’t know why they would say that, unless… You can only legally poison Squirrels with Warfarin between the 15th of March and the 15th of August and their article was posted on the 4th of October.

Here is an FC PDF on Grey Squirrel Control and the best ways to kill them.


Apparently it only takes 10 days for a Squirrel to die from Warfarin poisoning. That’s something to be grateful for, it could be a lot worse.

The BBC article contains recipes and tips if you do want to eat a Squirrel, you need three to make a burger.

So, I am really sorry to be going on about the FC again but THEY STARTED IT with their silly Squirrel Burger rubbish 🙂 I don’t intend for this blog to become a personal vendetta and I am sure that the FC do a lot of good in other areas, just not in our ancient woodland.

One last, last thing a little video.

If you belong to the anti Squirrel mob then you probably want to go and get your gun now…. and load it.

Now what I see here is an animal living in perfect harmony with the forest. You will probably see a Tree Rat destroying trees.

Give it both barrels! 

No I don’t know where you can buy cheap monitors. Try PC World. 🙂

The Night I Didn’t Get Ate By Zombies

Ha! We seem to have fungi coming out of our ears.

This is a story for those doubters who question the idea that I may have a Gorilla up my back passage, or an Emu for that matter, we will have to wait for the results of that one. So this is a story that is a bit more realistic.

This all didn’t happen about eight or nine years ago when I was camping out in woodland in East Sussex. I owned a little bit of land there and I had a regular camp where I would stay most weekends.

It was just a platform in a Sweet chestnut Tree.

Base CampThis picture was taken in winter, most of the time I didn’t have the basha up, I liked to sleep under the stars.

The animals made this place special for me. I had been feeding them here for years and my camp was always full of life. The Squirrels were the cheekiest.

Grey SquirrelOn this particular day I had seen something out on the track that I wanted. (The first of our mushrooms)

ParasolThis is a mushroom called a Parasol and it is good to eat.

If you are lucky enough to live in the UK then this is a good one for foragers. There are no  poisonous mushrooms that look like this. The only possible exception is the Shaggy Parasol which many people cite as edible but is known to cause gastrointestinal problems in some individuals.

This information definitely does not apply to North America where there is a very poisonous look alike called the False Parasol that is the largest cause of mushroom poisoning there. They don’t occur in the UK.

The Parasol, Macrolepiota procera has dark fixed scales on a creamy background.

ParasolI am not saying go out and eat a spotty mushroom, it must have at least a passing resemblance to the one I am showing you.

Amanitas have spotted caps and some of them are very poisonous but they usually have light coloured spots on a dark background. Stay away from white ones.

Fly Agaric

Grey Spotted AmanitaAmanitas also have floppy fixed rings and sit in a cup although that isn’t always obvious.

As soon as the cap opens you can see that a parasol has a ring, it is loose and you can move it up and down the stem.

ParasolIt also has a lovely snakeskin pattern on the stem. If you want to avoid the Shaggy Parasol then look for that pattern. The Shaggy Parasol doesn’t have it.

ParasolSo here is the mushroom that has caught my eye today.

ParasolIn the US the advice is not to eat young caps like this because at this stage it is easy to confuse them with the poisonous False Parasol. In the UK they are best like this.

This one has a lovely pattern on the stem and I know that it is safe to eat.

ParasolOkay regular foragers will probably hate me for what I am going to do next. The Parasol has a very good flavour and it is best served on it’s own or with mild flavours so that you can appreciate the mushroom to the full.

However earlier in the day I had foraged myself a nice venison steak, some chillies, tomatoes, prawns, a few sprigs of rosemary and some strong cheese. It is just while I was out hunting the Deer I noticed this little mushroom and thought that would fit right in there beside my steak in my little pan.

So it is back to camp and prepare the food.

DinnerYes it is getting dark now but when you are out in the wild there is not a lot to do after dark, except cook and eat and stuff like that.

So discard that beautiful stem, it is tough and fibrous. Lose the ring obviously and chop your vegetables into reasonable sizes.

DinnerPop it all into a little pan and notice that the wild mushroom adds a certain visual appeal to an otherwise rather bland meal

DinnerOn this particular evening I served my meagre repast with a small bottle of the house Jack.

That little bottle probably saved my life.

DinnerAfter eating and cleaning up I settled down in my tree to enjoy the evening and it was a good one.

Stars twinkled in the sky. Tawny Owls called to each other. The old Badger came around and we drank some more whisky and told each other stories.

BadgerI remember that I was telling him about the old days when I used to be a Pirate, before I became a Big Game Hunter and Butterfly Collector. (Not all of my stories are true)

I drifted off to sleep with a strong feeling of peace and well being around me and I slept like a log. To this day I believe that it was that deep sleep and possibly the fact that I was up a tree that saved my life the night that I wasn’t ate by Zombies.

I was awoken by somebody pelting me with peanuts.

“Wake up Col! It’s Zombies,” his little eyes seemed to say.

Grey Squirrel(Bluebells? Tell the continuity lady that I need to speak to her right now!)

What is it little Squirrel, do you want me to follow you?

I jumped out of my tree and followed the Squirrel, there were brains splattered everywhere.

Purple Jelly DiscCould it be Ogres? They would crack your bones to suck out the marrow but then, they would definitely eat the brains. This was something else, probably Zombies. I took as many pictures as I dared and I got out of that wood sharpish.

Purple Jelly Disc

Purple Jelly Disc

Purple Jelly DiscI looked it up when I got home and you are never going to believe this…

It is another mushroom. Well it is a fungi called Purple Jelly Disc, Ascocoryne sarcoides. It is what they call a saprobic fungi and that means that it feeds on and breaks down dead wood and other organic matter. This one typically feeds on Beech Wood but here it was eating Sweet Chestnut.

This thing that Fungi do in breaking down dead matter is hugely important to the ecology of the woodland. If fungi didn’t do this everything would just stay where it died and we would be up to our necks in it.

Fungi fill many other roles as well. There is a huge amount of fungi in the forest but most of it we can’t even see. It lives underground and in the bodies of fallen trees. The bits that we do see are just the fruit of a much larger organism.

Kingdom Fungi is so diverse, just as much so as Kingdom Plantae and Kingdom Animalia but sometimes harder to study because we can’t see it. What we can see fascinates me.

Purple Jelly Disc

Purple Jelly DiscWell thank you for reading this nonsense. Now it is time to walk the Dog. 🙂

We have to just leave the Gorilla Cam where it is for a few days. Animals can smell when we have been around and our best chance of getting anything lies in staying out of the way for a bit. I will post results later in the week hopefully.


Born in the USA

Happy 4th of July to all my American friends and I hope that you have a great holiday.

10 Years ago I was adopted by a tribe of Native Americans that I found living in my woods in East Sussex. I learned their customs and I learned to talk to them and they accepted me into their lives. I came to love them very much.

Grey squirrel

Grey squirrel


Grey squirrelYou know the old riddle, “Which of your children do you love the most?” The answer is, “The one that needs me the most.”

This little critter has probably got me into more fights than all of the other animals put together so there is a bond here. Plus we lived together for many years.

So I think that entitles me to a drink on  the 4th of July, don’t you?

Grey Squirrel

Grey Squirrel

Grey Squirrel

Grey Squirrel

Grey Squirrel

Grey SquirrelHi Nick, that’s Nick we were friends (Blood brothers)

Grey SquirrelHi Nick.

Grey SquirrelOkay he is not really American, he was born here as were his parents and theirs. He is as native as you or I. I just fancied a drink, it’s been a long time since St Patrick’s Day.

Have a great day American Friends.


Ha Ha HA! You look like a sheep!

FizzOkay, yes Let’s compare haircuts…

HaircutYes well let’s talk about something else then.

FizzThere was not much Woodpecker action in the garden today and I am afraid that I have lost them. The female was here a few times but not all the time like she was before. I am pretty sure she was coming for food for the nestlings and now they are feeding themselves. They will probably disappear into the woods and be Woodpeckers now. I am still hoping for some decent shots of the juveniles before they go.

There were plenty of other birds in the garden including quite a few new Great Tits (yellow cheeks again)

Juvenile Great Tit

Juvenile Great TitCome on then, let’s compare cheeks….

Yellow Cheeks..and there is a clear winner

Juvenile Blue Tit

Juvenile Blue Tit

Juvenile Blue TitThere was another new visitor to the garden today and this visit probably had something to do with Fizz being absent at the hairdressers.

This is a Squirrel fledgling, it’s a young one that has just left the nest.

Squirrel Fledgling

Squirrel Fledgling

Squirrel FledglingNormally problems arise when a Squirrel finds a peanut feeder but I think Fizz can handle this one. She will chase it but she will never get anywhere near it. She is a farm dog, she is not allowed in the house, sleeps in the back porch and spends most of her time in the garden. (Even though she is only just a toy dog)

Speaking of toys. earlier today I accidentally miss-threw her ball into a hedge and being so useless she was unable to retrieve it. I had to walk all the way to the nearest village to buy her a new one and when I got there they didn’t have any balls so now she has got one of these…

Toy Dog ToyAs toys go this is a fail.

She loves it but if she gets hold of it the walk is over. All she wants to do is beat it up, “This is what I’ll do to the Squirrel when I catch him.”

Toy Dog ToyShe will never catch a Squirrel (her legs are too little)

Give me my toy back!

Toy Dog Toy