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  1. Sciurus

    Cumbria FEO

    I’m in Windermere and my FEO was a really nice helpful chap, he was a retired bobby in early sixties, I think he was called Graham and based in Penrith.
  2. Mice, I agree it is very time consuming, I don’t know how you do so much and work as well. As a volunteer for Westmorland Red Squirrels, it is noticeable that the great majority of volunteer trappers are all retired. It is generally accepted that the legal requirement is to check traps daily however RSNE recommend twice daily. Like Formby, we encourage householders (particularly those near to sensitive sites) to take a trap and monitor it. It saves us a lot of time and effort and the householders seem to enjoy it., particularly the older ones who wish to see reds return and flourish. However, we do trap in woods, hotels and caravan sites on a rotational or needs basis. The trapping season is fairly short (except around houses) so some of us are also now shooting where permissible. I take the view that there are good arguments for both shooting and trapping, the important thing is to do something! At the end of the day, some of us are better at trapping and some at shooting, I just enjoy the variety. Incidently, some of our important sites, the greys do seem to be ‘trap shy’, so this year I have particularly enjoyed ambushing the odd rogue grey which had invaded red areas.
  3. The FC allow volunteers to trap in the Lakes, but not shoot. They ran a trapping course a couple of years ago but unfortunately I couldn’t attend.
  4. Sciurus

    Pensioner arrested after fatally stabbing burglar

    Terrific news. The Police and CPS are to be congratulated on dealing with this quickly and sensibly. What irony, a parasite who preyed on old folk killed by a pensioner! True Karma.
  5. Thanks Dougy I have a Flir on loan but just can’t get excited about it, if it doesn’t red out, then everything’s 50 shades of grey!
  6. Sciurus

    deposits on drink bottles

    The recycle bottles will have a single use barcode to claim the refund so unfortunately old bottles in the hedgerow are valueless (& usually full of unwanted bodily fluids!)
  7. Hi Fisheruk I would be very interested to hear how you get on with the Pulsar compared with the Flir. I have heard good reports about them but have not seen one.
  8. I have the Flir scout II 240, I think it is about 2 years old. Funnily enough, our local ranger, who also swears by them, had a go with it and said he preferred his earlier model. I took it away with me last weekend to Wales as I was staying in a cabin in a wood swarming with greys. I nearly always spotted them by eye first. If they weren’t close (& showing some red) then they were nearly the same shade of white as the branches - very frustrating. It is however, very useful for finding the route of central heating pipes beneath a solid floor!
  9. Hi Mice There was also a short article about this in the Mail yesterday referring to University of Aberdeen. Also a short report on the Today programme radio 4 yesterday about 8.45. I went to a talk about this last year, It was first noticed (I Think) in Northern Ireland that as the pine marten population grew, the numbers of greys were considerably reduced but reds flourished. It was thought that the Martens could catch and eat the greys but the reds being lighter could escape by climbing on to the thinnest branches at the top of the tree and escape. The chap giving the talk was part of a research group in Galloway who were protecting the martens. After years of analysing the scats (marten poo), they reached the conclusion that squirrels were very, very rarely part of the marten diet but the fact remained that as the population of martens increased, the numbers of reds increased and greys decreased. The current thinking is that the presence of martens somehow stresses the greys but not the reds. I think there is an experiment going on in Wales to test this theory.
  10. Sciurus

    Airey house (pre fab)

    I am a little out of touch about the status of Airey houses since I retired over 10 years ago. Airey houses were constucted post war with an inner framework of reinforced concrete columns with internal stud walls and clad externally with concrete panels, a method known as ‘non traditional’ construction. Unfortunately, the standard of design and construction was so poor that the framework and cladding fixings was prone to corrosion that in the early 1980s Airey houses were “designated defective” by the Government, meaning they were unmortgageable and people who bought them under the Right to Buy scheme we’re entitled to force the Council to buy them back. These houses became virtually unsaleable except to a cash buyer. After considerable research, A number of repair methods were proposed that were acceptable by some lenders if they had a recognised repair certificate but were not acceptable to others. Most lenders would not consider the mortgage unless the other half of the semi was repaired as well, some even wanted 50% of the houses in the road, to be repaired! Just rebuilding the outer skin did not cure the problem. The situation was a bit of a nightmare. The general feeling amongst surveyors was that demolition and rebuilding was the best and simplest option. Since these houses were often built on generous plots, it was not uncommon to buy a semi cheaply for cash, demolish it and build a detached house instead. I do not know how far your purchase has got, if it is in the early stages, it is essential to get a copy of the repair certificate and check with the lender that they will consider a mortgage on an Airey house with that type of certificate before proceeding any further. If this sounds a pain, remember these houses have a poor reputation and you will need everything to be in order, otherwise you will not be able to sell the property easily in the future. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. There is a lot of official info and research about Airey houses on the net.
  11. Hi Fisheruk I took the Flir out today, beautiful day, everything covered in snow, well below zero but because the sky was clear everything was redded out. I must admit I am often more disappointed than impressed with the Flir. Admittedly, I have only been using it for 2 months, it will be interesting to use it when the weather gets abit warmer- having just bought a Mossberg Hushpower, I want to put it to good use!
  12. Firstly can I congratulate you on your Squirrel Control Initiative and to say Hi. I found this site by accident whilst looking for a silenced 410 to shoot greys and was encouraged by the enthusiasm of your members to control greys not just for sport but for the additional benefits of encouraging/protecting red squirrels as well as songbirds. I am a volunteer with one of the larger red squirrel groups in the Lake District and have been trapping and culling for the last 3 years. Trapping is very seasonal here (so much oak,hazel and Beech mast to feed on) that we realised that we needed to add shooting to our method of control throughout the year and are requesting permission to shoot as well as trap from our existing landowners. So far this has been forthcoming, but often limited to hours of shooting and licensing of individuals to certain blocks of woodland. Silenced 410s are the preferred weapon plus air rifles. As a general rule, Landowners do not seem to want 12 or 20bores or fac weapons. Some of us have access to Flir thermal imagers, some love them and others hate them, I have seen them used to great effect in large blocks of woods but I am still somewhere in the middle of the learning curve. One thing is certain - they are an expensive bit of kit! What do others think? Finally, I noticed a number of posts regarding accidentally catching birds in squirrel traps. I have never had this problem and wonder if it is because we cover our traps with black builders plastic. This is to protect the grey from the weather, but it also forms an interesting tunnel for the grey to explore and when placed in a wood tends to camouflage the trap and just looks like a bit of rubbish- see photo. We also make small feeders from jam jar lids to fit in the traps .