The jarring rattle of a Mistle Thrush rains down from the canopy of bottle-green pines like machine gun fire as we watch and wait, crouched on a disagreeable carpet of jaded needles and frayed, trodden cones. Waiting, eyes trained on a weather-beaten, splintered but otherwise, outlandishly average, stump – the corpse of a pine long since cast down by the wind.

From behind a domed clump of emerald hair moss, our quarry emerges. A survivor, a relic of a pleasant age before the liberal, uncaring translocation of alien species, clinging to existence here, thanks to the efforts of the same species that brought about its destruction. It’s a Red Squirrel.

Watching the rufous-tinged rodent as it gorges on seed, it is hard not to feel a pang of sadness: regret, both for what has been lost and for our own, integral part in it. Oddly, however, there is hope too. The bushy-tailed, auburn mammal before me testament to what can be achieved when humans act to protect and conserve. The rodent, small and unobtrusive though it is, standing as living, breathing proof that we can right the wrongs which we, as a species, have inflicted.

Before long, the squirrel departs. Appetite sated and oblivious to the contemplation its very presence has triggered.

If you liked this post, please consider casting a vote for me in the 2018 ‘Wildlife Blogger of the Year’ competition. You can read my entry, and cast a vote for number 13, here >> http://www.terra-incognita.travel/2018/a-bittersweet-return

Red Squirrel, Pow Hill, James Common (2)

Written by James Common

Naturalist and nature writer from North-East England, forever learning. Common By Nature is maintained as an outlet for opinion and personal musings associated with the natural world, and as a journal detailing my exploits in the great outdoors. Enjoy!

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