Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Grey Squirrels & rabbits

This time last year I was over run with grey squirrels. Not just me either there was, for some reason, anyway in the South West of England, an explosion in the population of the grey squirrel with consummate appalling damage to young broadleaved trees.

What a contrast this year - a virtual dearth of grey squirrels.  So what has happened?  How can a species boom one year and bust the next - or was last years boom effectively the reason for this years bust? I long to know the answer. Oddly with the waning of the grey squirrel I have noticed a waxing of the rabbit population> I have never known so many rabbits and think back to my childhood when seeing a rabbit was quite an event - 99.99% of rabbits having been killed by myxomatosis.  an old friend worked in the then Ministry of Agriculture and told me that the boffins aim was to completely exterminate the rabbit in the UK. One day the phone rang in his bosse's office. Someone had seen a healthy rabbit in an orchard in Kent - down they all went - with dogs and guns determined to kill this lone survivor - after an exhausting day they ended up killing five rabbits and missing one or two as well.  They got back into their cars and drove back knowing that the rabbit would make a comeback one day - and - at Fulford anyway - that day has now happened. Bunny is back with a vengeance.   

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