Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Serendipity Squirrel

In our last episode, Ursine Orson Welles had decided that we needed a change of scene, and turned the camera and its post by 90 degrees. This left it facing a pointblank slope under an oak, with seemingly nothing to see but miner's lettuce and old acorns...

slope to right of camera
The black bear's set selection

But soon after, with a touch of the luck of the sow's-ear serendipity of Codger's crazy barn dance, the camera captured this charming sequence:

Have acorn will travel...

Dig, dig, dig...

Tamp, tamp, tamp...

And off for the next one

4 minutes later... "Hold it - did that thing see me?"

Better just eat it

With all of the prolific canyon live oaks, this isn't a surprise species, of course. And, it appears, another species once harvested acorns here:

Acorn grinder in nearby granite boulder - complete with fox poop

Now, I'm sure many of you might be saying: "but, it's just a squirrel..."

Well, I like squirrels. Especially western grays, Sciurus griseus, which seem to be losing the species collision war in California. Introduced eastern gray squirrels, Sciurus carolinensis, are taking over. On the peninsula of the SF Bay Area where I live, they already control the 'burbs, parks and rurals east of hwy 280.

Don't get me wrong - the smaller, browner easterns are a nice squirrel and all, but I'd surely miss the big, dashing, silver-white and bushy-tailed westerns.

They're a character of California.




  1. Awesome captures! We don't see that type here. :)

  2. Nice sequence of bushy tail doing the squirrel thing. And I'm with you about our California grays -- they are much classier than those runty easterners.

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  4. Which kind are the black ones that are prevalent near Stanford - and our yard?

  5. Thanks all. Always a blast to get a full behavioral sequence, and the grays are a kick.

    Michelle - the black color morphs are eastern grays, as are most/all of the gray squirrels around palo alto.

  6. Are those manzanita fruits in the coyote scat?

  7. Christopher - they are manz, but this particular scat is gray fox.


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