We established a monitoring programme in spring 2012. This large scale systematic survey is repeated each year in spring. The work samples 300 different sites (see left) across northern England, using standardised repeatable methods, including walked transects through woodlands, observing feeders in gardens and using trail cameras (details available below as downloadable PDFs).
We have just finished the spring 2015 survey, with 290 sites monitored. Although the number of sites where red squirrels were seen went down slightly compared to 2014, we are still pleased to have been able to demonstrate red squirrel range across seven counties in northern England over a three month period. Grey squirrels had a good year, but this was entirely expected following a second mild winter and bumper food crops of beech and hazel, conditions in which grey squirrels thrive. We are also happy that this work is documenting natural fluctuations in both species, and that over time we will see changes in the range of reds as a result of our collective conservation effort. The report can be read in full, and is available as a downloadable PDF below.
Huge thanks once again to over 120 volunteers who helped us continue this monitoring effort. It is a massive achievement for all involved.
We would greatly welcome new participants in this monitoring network. If you would like to take part, please do contact Simon O'Hare to discuss further.