THE early bird might catch the worm but at an Anglesey mansion house early risers are being given the chance to spot the once rare red squirrel.

Throughout October, a special team at the National Trust property Plas Newydd is guiding visitors on early morning walks and talks to spot the shy and illusive creatures.

Red squirrel rangers will be taking visitors on out-of-hours tours around the the mansion’s gardens and woodland.

Following the walk, the visitors are then returned to the Old Dairy Café for breakfast.

Not that long-ago, red squirrels were rarely seen across Anglesey. They are one of the most endangered native mammals in the UK

The species declined dramatically over the past century as a result of loss of broad-leaf habitat and the influence of grey squirrels which carry a virus that is fatal to red squirrels.

In October, 2008, six red squirrels were brought to Plas Newydd country house which is surrounded by gardens, and wooded parkland, on the north bank of the Menai Strait, at Llanddaniel Fab, near LlanfairPG.

The squirrels were held in enclosures for several weeks, and then released into the deciduous woodland on the estate.

They have since bred successfully, and there are now over 100 red squirrels thriving throughout the Plas Newydd estate.

Barbara Stanley, who is the visitor experience manager at Plas Newydd said:

“It used to be quite a rare occurrence spotting a red, but thanks to the reintroduction programme here, as part of the Anglesey Red Squirrel Project, they seem to be thriving.

“We’ve added new feeding stations and a rope bridge across the busy road.

“Plas Newydd has become a go-to destination to come and see them, especially for keen nature photographers.’

“They can now be spotted with some regularity, which is such a thrill for our visitors.”

The rangers take visitors through the woodland to see the various feeding stations, and into known areas for spotting red squirrels.

The walks runs every Friday and Saturday, throughout October, from 8am.

The tickets are £15 each, including the led walk and talk, plus a hot cooked breakfast and hot drink.

The walk is recommended for children over 12 and good walking boots and warm clothes are advised.

Well-behaved dogs on leads are also welcome.

To book a place please contact Plas Newydd on: 01248 714795. Vegan and gluten-free breakfast options are available upon request.