I was walking along the Water of Leith today when I heard a big commotion above my head. A couple of seconds later this grey squirrel landed at the base of the tree and lay still. I thought it might have been caught up in some creeper or something but it wasn't, but something was obviously wrong with it, because after taking a few laboured breaths, it kicked its leg in the air and then died. I took the photo when I passed by again later (I have a complicated circular walk that I do every week around Colinton Dell along the Water of Leith. The squirrel died at one of the points that I pass more than once). If you look carefully you can see that the poor dead squirrel is already being taken over by invertebrates - such as the slug climbing over its back. There was also a couple of flies buzzing about.
It was so sad to see such a beautiful creature die.
Grey squirrels are an introduced species in the UK and are often unpopular as they outcompete our native (and admittedly prettier!) red squirrels. However, in areas where there haven't been red squirrels for a very long time (like Edinburgh), the greys are a welcome addition to the local wildlife as they are such charismatic creatures.
For Nature Notes