Alnwick Probus Club, January meeting

RED ALERT: Alnwick Probus Club’s first meeting of 2012 opened with member Ernie Gordon showing a film which he had made on the subject of red squirrels, followed by a talk and questions on this subject.

The film was truly astonishing, shot completely in the Alnwick area, it showed squirrels in every season scampering about and foraging for food.

The remarkable thing was that squirrels were seen taking food out of Ernie’s jacket pocket while he was wearing it. These animals were not semi-domesticated but completely wild creatures.

Ernie explained that it had taken years of regular visits and patient feeding to build up sufficient trust to encourage the squirrels to be bold enough to take food from his clothes and even to stand on his outstretched hand and take proffered nuts.

A discussion followed the film when Ernie sadly reported the decline in red squirrel numbers throughout England and expressed the fear that even Northumberland, the last English population stronghold, would inevitably be invaded by the grey squirrel carrying the deadly squirrel pox which wipes out the red population.

Ernie’s film and talk illustrated what an amazing naturalist he is, anyone wanting to contact him should ring 01665 604168.

Anyone interested in joining Alnwick Probus Club should contact Bill Bland on 01660 620572 or at bland.thropton@tiscali.co.uk