In the UK, we have “American Grey Squirrels” and the native (and very severely depleted) “Red Squirrel” (red as in ‘fox-coloured’, rust-coloured or as we brits say “tan” – although the Americans seem to have an entirely different idea of what “tan” is, i.e, a kind of oyster-colour).  Anyway, the Grey Squirrels don’t harm the Reds, they just out-compete them and they’ve been pushed back to smaller and smaller enclaves.  I’ve actually never seen one! but they are known to be in (and have a stronghold in) my home county of Norfolk.  In fact, my Aunt just won a competition to name two of them and got some ‘go see ’em’ tickets.  The Grey Squirrels (that I see on my land) are pretty grey (to my eye) and I know (from books) they’re getting on for twice the size of the Reds.  As far as I can tell, the ones in my (Florida) back yard are exactly the same, but perhaps a shade smaller than their UK cousins.  When I went to California though, I noticed there were noticeable differences, but I’d have to dig-up my California pictures to recall exactly what.  Perhaps they weren’t even the same species.  When I climbed Mount Lassen, I was watching the golden-mantled squirrels and the ranger guy said “You’re from the East coast, aren’t you!”  Apparently, everyone from the West coast is immune to their charm (seeing them daily) and the people from the East coast run around with their cameras squealing “Isn’t it adorable!”.

To my eye (I just realized by coincidence) this text is in [UK] “tan”.  It’s a 50/50 mix of red and brown.  Maybe the natural ingredients available on each Continent produce a different colour?  Or, to look at it another way, it’s the colour Caucasians go when they sit in the sun (unless you’re a Celt, and then you just peel, then catch fire).

I may have wandered off the birding theme, just a touch? 


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