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Strangely somnolent squirrel

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During a walk in the already large and still expanding Sunfield subdivision in Buda on December 12th, the Lady Eve caught sight of a squirrel on a tree branch just a few feet above us and called my attention to it. Despite the barking of a nearby dog and my taking a bunch of pictures over a span of 11 minutes, said squirrel never budged from its perch. In fact its eyes closed for a few seconds at a time before reopening, as if sleep were calling in the middle of the day. If only all my live subjects were so docile or so in need of a nap.

I take this to have been a fox squirrel, Sciurus niger, which is common in central Texas (including right outside my window at home). The tree seems to have been a sweetgum, Liquidambar styraciflua, which grows abundantly in east Texas and can occasionally be found in the wild as close as one county to the east of mine, but which some people plant in the Austin area.

© 2020 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 26, 2020 at 4:36 AM

Posted in nature photography

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Rock squirrels

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In June and July we became aware of not one, not two, not three, but four rock squirrels (Otospermophilus variegatus) frequenting our back yard. The place they most like to sit is on the railing of our deck, as shown here in a picture from July 11th.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 14, 2019 at 4:45 AM

Rock squirrel

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The squirrels that I normally and often see in Austin are fox squirrels. When I noticed one of a different type sitting on the rail of our deck one day recently, I quickly got my camera and attached my lens with the longest reach, 400mm. The animal, which appears to be a rock squirrel, Spermophilus variegatus, was facing partly away but I took one picture anyhow. When I tried opening the back door to get a better angle, the squirrel ran off. On October 21st I saw it on the rail again, this time in a little better position, and I managed to get the photograph shown here.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 28, 2018 at 4:42 AM

Golden-mantled ground squirrel

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How about this golden-mantled ground squirrel (Callospermophilus lateralis) nibbling on a dry plant in Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, a year ago today?

UPDATE: Thanks to Tanja Britton for correcting my misidentification of this little animal as a chipmunk. I’m better at photographing than knowing what I’ve photographed.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

August 29, 2018 at 4:39 AM

The squirrels are at it again

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What the fox squirrels (Sciurus niger) are at again is eating some of the little red fruits from the yaupon trees (Ilex vomitoria) in Austin. Here’s a piece of the action right outside my computer room window on January 19th. Notice that while this squirrel held on to the trunk of an Ashe juniper (Juniperus ashei) with its right paw it used its left paw to pull a cluster of yaupon fruits against its mouth so it could bite one off.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 27, 2018 at 4:46 AM

More than petroglyphs and a shade-seeking squirrel

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At Petroglyphs National Monument in Albuquerque on June 13th I saw plenty of flowering broom dalea plants (Dalea scoparia). Unlike the squirrel that tried to stay in the shade, these plants thrive in heat and bright sunlight. Here’s a closer look:

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 20, 2017 at 5:02 AM

White squirrel time again

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White Squirrel on Ashe Juniper Tree6178

From late August into early September I caught glimpses of the white fox squirrel again, and on September 9th it turned up on the Ashe juniper tree outside my window. As I mentioned last year, this isn’t an albino (notice it doesn’t have a pink eye), but merely a white variant.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 10, 2014 at 5:45 AM

An October 5th stare-down with the white fox squirrel on the Ashe juniper tree outside my window

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White Squirrel on Ashe Juniper Trunk 0053

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 4, 2013 at 6:01 AM

Regular squirrel

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Squirrel Staring from Ashe Juniper 6077

On the morning of June 23, as I was proofing the post you saw last time, I heard a thud on the roof and then watched while the white squirrel and a regularly colored one jumped into the Ashe juniper tree outside my window and chased madly about, whether playing or fighting I couldn’t tell. At one point, locked together, they fell off a branch of the tree and disappeared from my sight, but soon afterward I saw each one back up high again, though moving separately, so the fall apparently didn’t hurt them. Some minutes later the regularly colored squirrel came back for a bout of staring at me, as you see. Unfortunately the white one didn’t, but because it hangs out around here maybe I’ll get more chances to photograph it.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 26, 2013 at 6:10 AM

White squirrel

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Albino Squirrel on Ashe Juniper Tree 2318A

One day near the end of May I noticed a white squirrel in front of my house. I didn’t have a camera with me, and the squirrel scampered off before I could go inside to get my equipment. Oh well, some opportunities get away from us.

On the morning of June 8th, while sitting at my computer, I saw the white squirrel on the Ashe juniper tree outside my window, which is at second-story height. The squirrel saw me too, and it stared at me for a good while. This time my bag was just a few feet away, so I went over to it, put a long lens on the camera, did some scampering of my own onto my desk, and scooted close to the window. As was true of a previous squirrel picture, it’s hardly good technique to shoot obliquely through window glass that isn’t the cleanest and to aim at a subject that not only is backlit but has patches of white sky behind it, but I could either do that or not take any pictures. I took pictures.

For more information about white and albino squirrels, you can read a New York Times article.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 25, 2013 at 6:16 AM

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