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Streetwise Squirrel

Sunday 26th September 1999

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grey squirrel A GREY SQUIRREL pays no attention to us as it stops in the middle of the road to nibble a conker. It runs across the pavement in front of us, shins a short way up a telegraph pole and leaps onto a garden wall. It has a mangy look to it and appears to be in moult. Overall it is has a gingery cast, but by its tail there are twin flashes of grey, which I assume is its winter coat beginning to come through.

ear fungus, Auricula A mossy Elder by the woodland path has sprouted a new crop of Ear Fungus. It is soft and rubbery, described by Roger Phillips as 'edible'. In America it grows on a variety of trees, but in Britain it is almost entirely restricted to elder, although I once photographed some on the stump of an old telegraph pole.

It has a more reddish cast than I've shown in the sketch.

The fungus is also known as Jew's Ear;

'So unlucky is the elder,' writes Robert Graves in The White Goddess, 'that in Langland's Piers Plowman, Judas is made to hang himself on an elder tree.'

Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

E-mail; 'richard@daelnet.co.uk'

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