Latest Local Survey Results
Squirrel Population Update November 2019
The results of the 2019 Annual Monitoring Report compiled by Red Squirrels Northern England during March, April and May are now available. The report can be found in full on the RSNE website https://www.rsne.org.uk/squirrel-monitoring-programme
The study records red and grey squirrel presence in 290 sites across the north. Overall reds were detected in 43.4% of sites and greys in 45.9% (no squirrels in the remaining 10.8% of sites), a small increase in reds and small decrease in greys since last year. In the Northumberland National Park area reds were in 45.2% of sites and greys in 32%. So encouraging news! Overall the northern red population has remained stable during the last 7 years reflecting the success of the grey control programme implemented by the red conservation organisations such as the Coquetdale Squirrel Group. Unfortunately if we do not control the grey population they will expand into the few remaining red habitats and our reds will disappear altogether.
There are 17 survey sites in and around Coquetdale including 3 in Harwood Forest, 3 in Kidland Forest and 2 at Holystone. Reds were found to be present at Harwood, Holystone, Kidland, Clennell, Ovenstones (between Hepple and Billsmoor),and Thrunton; greys were recorded at Nunykirk and Forestburn; no squirrels were seen at Edlingham, Blue Mill Woods (near Thropton), Brinkburn and Simonside. No sites recorded both species. These results appear very positive for Coquetdale but must be viewed with some caution. For example we know that there are grey squirrels in the Brinkburn area. The survey is a snapshot in time, but we would much rather have a survey reporting lots of red squirrels than lots of greys!
There is a map at the end of this report for those who would prefer to see the data displayed that way.
The situation reported by our volunteers at time of writing (November 2019) is that whereas reds are still present in Coquetdale greys are continually migrating into the area - and from all directions. Greys have been sighted in and around Rothbury as they search for territory; however reds still predominate in Addyheugh woods with an increasing red population on the Cragside Estate thanks to the National Trust conservation efforts. We have had many sightings of both red and grey squirrels in the upper valley. There are now few areas below Alwinton that do not have grey squirrels. In and around Holystone woods there are intermittent sightings of greys but reds are still present. North of the river on the Peels there is a small red colony, but the recent felling at Woodhall on the south side seems to have disturbed another. Biddlestone and Clennell are still getting regular sightings of reds.
Squirrels are currently very active storing food for the winter with an abundance of natural food, maybe they know something we don`t! As winter encroaches it is important to provide supplementary feed for reds. Trees in gardens adjacent to woodland are a good site for feeding boxes. A red squirrel feed mix and hazelnuts can be purchased from Aldersons in Rothbury.
Please remember to report all squirrel sightings both red or grey. This can be done here- Sightings