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Photographer's Note

Today I went on my fourth walk of the year with a group of friends, this time to a tiny but wonderful nature reserve on the outskirts of the village of Lockerbie, a village now sadly best remembered on account of its association with the gruesome bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 twenty five years ago.

The little nature reserve was the brainchild and is now still the passion of Jim Rae, a local school biology teacher, now retired, who has devoted enormous amounts of time and energy to its development and upkeep. You can read more about the Eskrigg Nature Reserve here.

I tried to photograph some of the birds which were there but they mostly proved too quick for me. But I did spot this lovely Red Squirrel as I walked through the woods and managed to grab a few shots of him/her from about 15 metres away before the lovely creature vanished like lightning through the trees.

Unfortunately, in Britain, the red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) is becoming increasingly rare since the introduction of the grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) from America. The grey squirrel is a larger and much more prolific and adaptable creature than the red squirrel and competes for food with its smaller red cousin. The grey squirrel also carries a disease, the squirrel parapoxvirus or squirrelpox, that does not appear to affect their health but will often kill the red squirrel.

Projects throughout Britain, like the SSRS, are attempting to save the red squirrel population and destroy the grey variety which are now considered vermin.

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Additional Photos by John Cannon (tyro) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1272 W: 393 N: 4740] (19072)
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