Back In Business!
Air Gunner|October 2020
Back In Business!
Peter Yeats is jumping for joy as he finally gets back out in the field on a hunting trip
Peter Yeats

I’m sure I’m not alone in finding the restrictions and guidance of recent months both depressing and frustrating. So, restrictions having eased, it was with real excitement that I made my first visit to my feeders to see what state they were in. The answer was that they contained decayed, mouldy feed that had naturally been abandoned by the local greys. After disposing of the old feed, the first job, then, was to thoroughly clean the perspex window, feed compartment and ledge/tray, scraping the wood clean and using a plastic scourer to clean the perspex and then the wood again. Finally, a spray of Zoflora and left to dry – much better.

Two days later, I returned to replenish the now immaculate feeders and to place double-sided tape under the lids to catch hairs from any visitors. When I returned, three days later, one feeder was half full and the other almost empty. The tape was well covered with greys’ hairs and the flattened grass at the base of the tree was eloquent of activity beneath the feeders, too. Time to get back to thinning them out, especially considering the 2020 list of UK species at risk of extinction that includes the red squirrel. In addition to that, restrictions have meant that the first grey-squirrel litters have been left unchecked, so there are more than the usual numbers of greys threatening the red squirrels in my area. Up to 60 greys have been eradicated within a mile of a red squirrels’ sanctuary in a local village.


Other disturbing information concerns ticks. Not only do there seem to be more of them but there are also confirmed cases of both tick-borne encephalitis (TBE), and for the first time in the UK, babesiosis.


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October 2020