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We hopped aboard a ferry on a blissfully sunny afternoon last weekend weaving our way through a multitude of sailing vessels en route to the island. Brownsea Island Ferries have been operating a service from Poole Quay to the island for over a hundred years.
The primary objective for this visit was to see a rare red squirrel, a creature we are so fond of we even have squirrels in our wreath designs. A creature hardly seen on the mainland of Great Britain due to being driven out by their more successful grey cousin. There are about 200 red Squirrels that live on Brownsea Island. Very shy creatures with their tufty ears and little pale furry tummies that they love to fill with pine seeds, acorns, hazelnuts and chestnuts that grow on the island.
As we slowly walked and chatted, keeping our eyes on the canopy above, my eye was drawn down to the flick of a tail on the ground a hundred yards away from us. Walking deeper into the forest watching the flickering tail, looking through the viewfinder and carefully traversing a fallen log I got as close as was possible. I took several quick shots and then stepped on a dry twig, SNAP! the ginger blighter shot up a tree stopping briefly to pose for one last portrait and then raced out of sight.
With our mission accomplished we made our way back to catch the last boat. The return journey to the mainland included an hour long narrated tour around the entire island taking in its history and that of it's neighbouring islands.
Waving goodbye to the island, we vowed to return to Brownsea in autumn when the red squirrels are more active and easier to see. I haven't finished with you yet, little monkeys. I'll be back!