Sunday, November 28, 2010
My Newcomer, California Ground Squirrel
We have a new yard animal, a California ground squirrel. Occassionally a grey squirrel passes through but I can’t remember ever having a California ground squirrel. There are common enough out of town. Right now we think this is a big plus, though I’m sure the charm will fade if we get a dozen of them. He arrived Wednesday and proceeded to spend a couple of hours stuffing his cheeks with the fine cracked corn we throw out for the sparrows. Then I didn’t see him for a couple of days, but perhaps I was too busy with the holiday, or maybe he was just sleeping off his Thanksgiving dinner. Today he is back.
When he first makes his appearance his cheeks and throat are slim. I spotted him early and he obligingly froze for me while I sketched. It took him quite a while to get comfortable with my presence. I was inside the house so I expected him to settle down sooner.
Finally he relaxed and I got to sketch his cheekiness. He ends up with great big jowls. Then off he goes, into the nearby mass of cedar shrubbery. I suspect he has tunneled in there somewhere and is happily storing this bonanza. In our mild climate we expect to see California ground squirrels on nice days throughout the winter. They hibernate in the northern parts of their range.