Perhaps it’s just me, but there do seem to be more red squirrels about in the Wee County than I have ever seen before, especially in the area stretching from Tillicoultry to Muckhart.

I am also seeing fewer grey squirrels. As I say, this may just be an anecdotal perception and no reflection of the reality, but if reds really are becoming more numerous, then something very interesting is going on.

A possible reason is the spread of the pine marten into Clackmannanshire. The pine marten is a most attractive predatory animal, with a bushy tail, thick chocolate coat and a warm yellow bib.

Slightly larger than a ferret, the pine marten is a proficient climber and grey squirrels make a rather easy to catch prey item; and certainly more so than the smaller and more agile red.

I imagine squirrel nests, – or dreys as they are known – are also quite easy to plunder young squirrels from.

Of course, the main reason for the decline of the red squirrel is due to the spread of the introduced grey; so fewer greys around could be why I’m seeing more reds.

But that doesn’t mean its curtains for the grey because I reckon they will always be part of our landscape, especially in urban areas.

Although admittedly not as handsome as our own red, the grey squirrel is still a good looking beast with its orange-hued face, sleek grey fur and bushy tail.

It is a creature that children adore and is often one of their first experiences of a wild mammal.

All reasons why we should perhaps appreciate our grey squirrels just that little bit more.