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SQUIRREL SURVEY 1963-1964 Report by T H E EARL OF CRANBROOK and

W.

H.

PAYN

are two species of squirrel in Great Britain, the indigenous Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) and the introduced American Grey Squirrel ( S . carolinensis), the second having been introduced into this country at various places between 1872 and 1929. It has spread widely, has for long been common in Essex and Cambridgeshire but for many years failed to spread across the border into Suffolk. In 1929 C. Morley [Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 1 : 77) referred to reports of the Grey Squirrel "at a place near Eye which shall be nameless " but it is probable that this was due to a faulty identification : Morley was apt to accept too readily unverified reports of the occurrence in Suffolk of animals and plants outside his own speciality. Certainly in 1932 C. Ticehurst (Mammals of Suffolk Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 2 : 13-33), an acute and accurate recorder of birds and mammals, did not know of its existence in the county. In 1952 (Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 8 : 2) what then seemed to be the first immigrant Grey Squirrels were shot at Ampton and Herringswell and in 1956, W. H. Payn (Mammals of S.W. Suffolk Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 11 : 309-312) only knew of it from " the Newmarket Area ", reporting Red Squirrels from some parishes in the Stour Valley where only Grey Squirrels have been reported in this current survey for 1963-4. THERE

Subsequently in the late 1950's and early 1960's there were a number of reports of Grey Squirrels being seen or shot on the Suffolk side of the Essex border, so in 1962 the Council of the Suffolk Naturalists' Society decided to undertake a survey of the status and distribution of the two squirrels in Suffolk : we were appointed Recorders for East and West Suffolk respectively. A note was prepared for publication in the Society's Transactions (Vol. 12 : 184-185) and, through the kind co-operation of the Secretaries of the bodies concerned, reprints of this were sent to members of the Suffolk Branches of the Country Landowners' Association, National Farmers' Union, and Timber Growers' Association. The reports received cover most of the County and are plotted on a ten Kilometre Square basis on the map facing this page. In most cases reports received specified the parish in which the squirrel was seen and the plotting of these on a ten Kilometre Square basis, though it gives a reasonably accurate broad picture of the distribution of the two species, masks both the paucity of


84 Transactions of the Suffolk Naturalists',

Vol. 13, Part 2

the records on which we have had to rely in some areas and the Plethora in others. On the other hand plotting the results on a parish basis, while it vvould certainly have given a more accurate picture of the distribution of reports, or of the assiduity of some reporters who sought out records from many parishes in their immediate neighbourhood, would not necessarily have given a more accurate picture of the distribution of the two species of squirrel. Nevertheless in one area we have had to subdivide a ten Kilometre square. In East Suffolk the Grey Squirrel seems to have over-run the Shotley Peninsular and spread northwards to the western boundary of Ipswich. It has not crossed the Orwell and Reds are still found in gardens in the centre of Ipswich : we have therefore divided squares T M 1040 and 2030. The two species can only be distinguished in the field with certainty by observers who are well acquainted with both, and in those squares showing the extreme limits of the ränge of the Grey Squirrel we have not relied on " s i g h t " observations only. In each of those squares a Grey Squirrel has been shot and handled in the flesh. We have disregarded " sight " records of Grey Squirrels in East Suffolk from near Saxmundham and from Sutton (square T M 3040), neither of which have been confirmed by a corpse. Apart from these two records no Grey Squirrels have been reported from squares crosshatched as having Reds only, nor Reds from those crosshatched for Greys. Though they are not heavily wooded the two unshaded squares south and west of Eye may well hold squirrels : we have asked a number of friends and acquaintenances to make enquiries in those two districts but all have proved barren. We have not enough information to enable us to make other than the very obvious comment that the Grey Squirrel is now advancing into SufFolk from across the Essex and Cambridgeshire border, a fact which every naturalist and every forester will view with dismay. On why this movement, so long delayed, has started only over the past ten years or so, on whether it was or is being accompanied and preceded by a decrease in the number of Red Squirrels in Suffolk or an increase in numbers or persecution of the Grey Squirrel in the neighbouring counties and on the many other relative factors we have no information. The Survey was only intended to produce evidence of the present (1963-64) distribution of the two species in the county : that we believe it has done with reasonable accuracy. We are grateful to a number of ladies and gentlemen who have sent in reports, a list of whom is appended to this report.


SQUIRREL

L I S T OF

SURVEY

REPORTERS

E. F. Allen Lt. Col. M. E. St. J. Barne Mrs. A. Barton W. J. Berry Brandeston. Hall School

D. C. King

D. Brown Butley Modern School H. E. Chipperfield

W. Marriott

E. J. Clement B. Coney Lady Mitchell-Cotts R. J. Copping R. N. Creasy J. Critchley-Salmonson Mrs. Croome D. R. Dickson L. Dow A. Eden C. P. Elliott J. Everton Mrs. A. Foord Forestry Commission Mrs. C. W. Fullbrook S. G. Gaught Sir Robert Gooch Duke of Grafton C. Grange Dr. G. Griffith Lord Henniker R. Heseltine Mrs. R. Holt-Wilson L. J. Hyde W. R. Ingram F. B. Jones Jonathan Kiddell

85

Lt. Col. J. Langley H. G. Lloyd W. V. Lovett Sir H. Lowry Corry C. Meade B. E. Mitchell Dr. H. B. Norman Col. E. V. Oborne M. Packard R. J. Partridge H. Pease C. W. Pierce A. E. Pye L. F. Ramm R. H. Rash Mrs. F. H. Reeve W. Rolph Miss J. J . Rowe F. W. Royle-Bantoft R. S. Ryder Saxmundham Modern School G. Scott Miss G. E. Sellars Lord Somerleyton H. E. P. Spencer R. P. Stafferton Capt. J. C. Stopford Earl of Stradbroke Hon. P. Strutt Lord Tollemache J . Vane Mrs. N. Walrond J. Watts


86 Transactions of the Suffolk Naturalists', Vol.

THE STAG BEETLE

Squirrel Survey 1963-1964  
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