9/15/2010

In search of Squirrel Nutkin



Tony and I decided to escape for the day last week; the blue sky beckoned so we packed our walking shoes and camera and set off in search of Squirrel Nutkin.

We headed for the National Trust Reserve at Formby, on the coast just north of Liverpool. Alas, we did not see a single red squirrel probably due to the devastating effects of recent disease outbreaks. It is estimated that numbers are slightly on the increase now but they were certainly very thin on the ground the day we visited.

I have seen red squirrels in the wild in Austria and was amazed at the colour variations, some very dark sable brown, others bright orange/red. Sadly they are very rare here in the UK despite a great deal of conservation work.

The day was not wasted however as the reserve has some lovely picnic areas and walks through pine forests, sand hills and down to the sea. A huge expanse of sandy beach stretches as far as the eye can see, north towards Southport and south towards Liverpool and the walk helped to lift our spirits.



The illustration is taken from my "Illustrated Address Book".

25 comments:

  1. Valerie, we have red squirrels here in our area...they are very hyper little creatures! Much more so than the grays. North of here in the Finger Lakes of NY state, they have black ones too. Our reds don't have the pointy ears as yours do.
    Such a shame yours are threatened by disease...here our honey bees are suffering and I don't think they truly know the exact cause yet...
    we've only had a few in our garden this summer. So sad.

    I love your illustration!
    Diane

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  2. Good Morning valerie, your illustration of the Nutkin Squirrel is perfect. We have plenty of squirrels in our yard but not red ones. They are found most Up North were the Pine Trees are located. Love the photos of the park. Hugs Jud

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  3. I love squirrels, we have them in our back yard--they scamper along the power lines and over the fences. Trees? Well, they do jump into the trees from the powerlines!

    Our squirrels are grey and do not have tufts on their ears.

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  4. I remember red squirrels in Woodhall Spa from my childhood in Lincolnshire Valerie and I believe there are now a few in one or two areas of the Yorkshire Dales - but their hold is tenuous.

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  5. Ah, lovely - sorry you didn't see any of the sweet little creatures. The first time we visited we saw several and were able to photograph them; the next time we visited we didn't see any! The ones we saw first time around were a nutty brown rather than copper red like the Scottish ones. Looks like you had a lovely walk by the sea:)

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  6. Most of our squirrels are gray squirrels, but in the last several years, we've seen a few small brown ones venture into the mix.

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  7. Sorry you did not see Nutkin, but glad the day was good. I am just off to the Lakes so I will keep my eyes peeled for him!

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  8. Beautiful squirrel illustration! I had to let you know that I received your miniature book today. It is very precious to me and will be cherished. You took care of every detail of the craftsmanship of the book and the careful packaging and shipping. And to have a beautiful squirrel card included in the package was more than I could have ever expected. Thank you so much.
    xo,
    Heather Victoria Held

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  9. A very lovely Squirrel Nutkin - I will be sure to let the MANY red squirrels that flit around the hemlocks here that you are looking for them!

    This spring I had a large family of red squirrels living in a hollow maple tree at the edge of the forest... conveniently located next to the compost pile. I had the pleasure of watching as the very small and very sweet young first emerged in the spring. Small red head above small red head peering out of the holes in the trees. There were several towers of heads peering out of various holes in the tree. Then over time they came out to limbs and then chased each other up and down. Very sweet and luckily VERY fast... Pasha has never caught one, though he often catches chipmunks....

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  10. Looks like a great place for a walk. Didn't realise that there was a diverse range of colour in red squirrels - let's hope that we see more in the future.

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  11. i'd say that your day was definitely not wasted judging by the gifts in those photographs valerie! beautiful. i had no idea such a place existed near liverpool. that stretch of land is an unknown quantity to me. steven

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  12. Love your squirrel illustration!

    Sounds like a refreshing outing.

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  13. I'm so sorry to hear the red squirrels have been in trouble with disease. They are always such a treat to spot on our walks in Britain. They look just like your painting!

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  14. Lovely post about squirrels. Someone once commented, when asked which animal they most admired, answered the Squirrel. Squirrels never waste any motions. Every move they make is strategic. We have plump grey squirrels with smow white tummies around here on Long Island. They love raiding my bird feeders.

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  15. Sunshine and beach walks, a recipe to make you feel so much better.
    I saw lots of evidence the squirrels are munching away at the green acorns and hazel nuts, then a squirrel. I love seeing them with their long tails and such agility.

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  16. I love your illustration. I have seen wild red squirrels in a couple of locations. Sometimes, in Northumberland when on break of dawn ventures. We had to stop a car to watch 3 of them dancing and playing in the road. The harvest crunch adverts were not far off the mark. The other time was near Skerries in Island. So beautiful. I'm hosting a shared treasure event each month where bloggers are invited to link a post to an area near them. You are welcome to add a link to this post if you'd like to join in the fun xJ

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  17. I have seen one red squirrel in the wild in my entire life in Cumbia. It was just a fleeting glimpse but looked a lovely creature. I keep hoping that they will make a massive comeback a bit like the red kites. Sounds like you had a great day at the reserve.

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  18. Nothing like an escape, if only for a day!

    Looks like you had a lovely day. And I agree, red squirrels are something we really don't see enough of, though at least efforts are being made to save them. C x

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  19. We have fat little grey squirrels in the yard and we occasionally see black squirrels. They all seem to think the camera will steal their souls. They will run and chase each other around the trees for hours, until I get out the camera, then they are gone.
    It is good to know the conservationists are working to keep all the varieties alive.
    Kat

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  20. Lucky you. A place where I would love to go. Such a shame you didn't get to see a red squirrel on the day. I love them! We got to see two when we last visited Jersey. To say I was thrilled is an understatement! Beautiful images of such a magical looking place. x

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  21. Ours are little gray squirrels who are always complaining about the dullness of their fur,,, they DO wish it was red fur.
    They would be quite jealous to see your painting and would never cease chattering about it!

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  22. Having never been to England, it's odd to me the pictures of it I've formed. I had no idea you have sand dunes there, let alone in close proximity to pine forests - wonderful!

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  23. Hello, Valerie! I have featured your blog and wonderful artwork at FAT Tuesday Featured Artist Spotlight.

    You can find it at www.Bethlniquetteart.blogspot.com.

    You are an inspiration to me!

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  24. Valerie,

    Your artwork is just amazing! I love your squirrel, you truely captured the essence of squirrelyness. I am enjoying looking through all your beautiful pieces of art. I would love to have one of your prints in my home some day!

    ~Stacey

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