Friday, June 17, 2011

The squirrel occupation

My trip to Phoenix Park and Dublin zoo last week didn’t turn up too many wild creatures in the 4 hours or so I spend wandering around and avoiding random and extreme rain showers. None the less it was great fun because it’s almost impossible to avoid one of Ireland’s most prosperous invasive species; the grey squirrel. These small grey and quite unwary creatures are simply everywhere going about their daily routines and can be quite easy to photograph.

As is well known the grey squirrel originates from America as its Latin name suggests (Sciurus carolinienis) and was (allegedly) accidently introduced when a rather ill thought out wedding present of little squirrels ran amuck back in 1911. Since then the grey squirrel has pushed out the smaller, less adaptable red squirrels from most of its range and gained a permanent foothold in the food chain.  (top, red s from little island, bottom, grey s from Phoenix park)
Sciurus vulgaris (Red squirrel)
Sciurus carolinensis (Eastern gray squirrel)
Luckily the problem doesn’t seem so bad down here in Cork where sighting a squirrel of any sort is a fairly rare occurrence for me. Oddly little island seems to have both species but not in any great abundance.  

Still, despite its influence and bad reputation the grey squirrel is admittedly a great looking little creature and very photogenic!
Sciurus carolinensis (Eastern gray squirrel)
The zoo has some rather tame wild birds as well, magpies, jackdaws, rooks, collared doves, herring gulls, starlings, house sparrows, robins, dunnocks, grey herons, mallards and even a little grebe where quite approachable, more so even then the ones in Cork city. (from top to bottom, little grebe, house sparrow, juvenile starling, jackdaw, collared dove, magpie)
Tachybaptus ruficollis (Little grebe)
Passer domesticus (House sparrow)
Sturnus vulgaris (Starling)
Corvus monedula (Jackdaw)
Streptopelia decaocto (Collared dove)
Pica pica (Magpie)
As for the zoo creatures themselves, they too got their pictures taken; I even made them a special page which can be found on the right under sub pages or by clicking on the tiger below!
Panthera tigris sumatrae (Sumatran tiger)


  1. Great blog, and enjoyed wandering around Dublin Zoo too :D

  2. good place dublin zoo


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