Field Observation Reports
2018:01:08 , 2018:01:07 Squirrels find Earcorn Roger Leitheiser's Farm
2017:11:20 Nightime Photography Terrace Oaks Park
2017:11:05 Leaves have mostly fallen Terrace Oaks Park
2017:11:04 Squirrels work the ground in light mist Terrace Oaks Park
2017:10:28 Red Squirrels eating Pinecones Gooseberry Falls State Park
2017:09:24 Squirrels and Acorns Terrace Oaks Park
2017:09:03 Squirrels scatterhoarding acorns Terrace Oaks Park
2016:01:15 Some Evidence of Squirrels Lebanon Hills Regional Park
2016:01:11 todo: figure out my obscure format for this Lebanon Hills Regional Park
2016:01:08 Saw some squirrels but didn't get pictures Terrace Oaks Park
2016:01:07 Red Squirrels forage in the snow Lebanon Hills Regional Park
2016:01:05 Warm winter day Lebanon Hills Regional Park
2015:02:07 Squirrels in the Arboretum Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
2014:12:27 Overcast day Wood Lake Nature Center
2014:12:13 False-Spring Day Wood Lake Nature Center
2014:10:04 Fall Colors Wood Lake Nature Center
2014:07:20 Wildlife Suvery Trout Brook Nature Sanctuary
2014:07:14 High Water Wood Lake Nature Center
2014:05:14 Squirrels and chipmunks forage amoung flowers Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
2013:12:16 Deer and Fox Wood Lake Nature Area
2013:11:11 Gray squirrels eating from feeders and compost pile Wood Lake Nature Area
2013:11:02 Mom visits Arboretum Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
2013:09:20 Gray, red squirrels and chipmunks Minnesota Landscape Arborteum
2013:06:16 Squirrels and Chipmunks Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
2013:05:20 Squirrels enjoying spring Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
2013:04:14 Rainy Day Wood Lake Nature Center
2013:03:16 Gray Squirrels Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
2013:02:02 Gray and Red Squirrels forage in winter Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
2013:01:05 Gray and red squirrels forage in winter. Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
2012:12:21 Gray squirrel at feeders Wood Lake Nature Center
2011:07:30 Fox squirrels eating pinecones McCrory Gardens
2011:07:17 Little Squirrel Activity McCrory Gardens
2011:07:09 Little squirrel activity McCrory Gardens
2011:06:25 Charlie forages garbage. McCrory Gardens
2011:06:19 Charlie found orange chicken, pictures of bugs. McCrory Gardens
2011:06:12 Charlie, Mating McCrory Gardens
2011:06:04 , 2011:05:21 Spring McCrory Gardens
2011:05:17 Female eating Oak Catkins McCrory Gardens
2011:05:13 Foraging Maple Seeds; Skunk Den McCrory Gardens
2011:05:06 Rain and little squirrel activity. McCrory Gardens
2011:04:17 Rusty eating Ranch McCrory Gardens
2011:04:09 Squirrels lick maple sap. McCrory Gardens
2011:04:03 Squirrels lick sap McCrory Gardens
2011:04:02 Squirrels licking maple sap McCrory Gardens
2011:03:31 Klug and Rusty Forage on the Ground McCrory Gardens
2011:03:22 Eating pinecones McCrory Gardens
2011:03:17 Rusty goes scent marking. McCrory Gardens
2011:03:10 Little squirrel activity. McCrory Gardens
2011:02:24 Little squirrel activity. McCrory Gardens
2011:02:19 Rusty the fox squirrel forages and scent marks. McCrory Gardens
2011:02:16 Fox squirrels forage pine nuts. McCrory Gardens
2011:02:10 Little squirrel activity. McCrory Gardens
2011:02:05 Little squirrel activity. McCrory Gardens
2011:01:31 Little squirrel activity. McCrory Gardens
2011:01:24 Prints McCrory Gardens
2011:01:14 , 2011:01:04 Squirrel crossing road. McCrory Gardens
2011:01:07 Squirrel slept all morning. McCrory Gardens
2011:01:04 Squirrels eating crabapple. McCrory Gardens
2010:12:27 Eating maple and pinecone. McCrory Gardens
2010:12:21 Eating pinecone and maple. McCrory Gardens
2010:12:16 Squirrels eating maple seeds McCrory Gardens
2010:12:12 Squirrels in maple. McCrory Gardens
2010:12:09 Squirrels eating; Weigh Rusty McCrory Gardens
2010:12:02 Collecting Nest Insulation; Mass McCrory Gardens
2010:11:25 Squirrels forage maple. McCrory Gardens
2010:11:18 Voles, Rusty McCrory Gardens
2010:11:11 Fat Rusty Forages. McCrory Gardens
2010:11:04 Squirrels forage Maple. McCrory Gardens
2010:10:28 Rusty, fall leaves. McCrory Gardens
2010:10:23 Crab-apples and dead cat. McCrory Gardens
2010:10:22 Crab-apple. McCrory Gardens
2010:10:08 Squirrels forage pine and maple. McCrory Gardens
2010:09:24 Rusty forages and poses. McCrory Gardens
2010:09:16 Squirrels forage pine cones. McCrory Gardens
2010:09:09 Rusty pictures. McCrory Gardens
2010:09:03 Rusty forages buckeye. McCrory Gardens
2010:08:26 Squirrels forage maple. McCrory Gardens
2010:08:19 , 2009:10:12 Squirrel forage walnut. McCrory Gardens
2010:08:16 No squirrel activity. McCrory Gardens
2010:08:12 , 2010:08:11 Squirrels forage black walnut. McCrory Gardens
2010:08:06 , 2010:08:07 Black Walnuts and Skunk McCrory Gardens
2010:08:03 Mosquitoes McCrory Gardens
2010:07:25 , 2010:07:24 Klug and Barry forage. McCrory Gardens
2010:07:24 Young Skunks McCrory Gardens
2010:07:19 Squirrels forage ponderosa pine McCrory Gardens
2010:07:17 Squirrels forage ponderosa pine. McCrory Gardens
2010:07:08 Ponderosa Pine McCrory Gardens
2010:07:05 , 2010:07:04 Squirrels eat Ponderosa pine; Walnuts not ripe McCrory Gardens
2010:06:28 , 2010:06:30 Squirrels forage mulberry. McCrory Gardens
2010:06:28 , 2010:06:27 Charlie forages. McCrory Gardens
2010:06:22 Squirrels forage mulberry. McCrory Gardens
2010:06:18 Rusty rests in the afternoon. McCrory Gardens
2010:05:31 Penny forages in a silver maple. McCrory Gardens
2010:05:29 Fox squirrel in a silver maple. McCrory Gardens
2010:05:19 , 2010:05:24 Rusty forages. McCrory Gardens
2010:05:19 Not much squirrel activity. McCrory Gardens
2010:05:13 Fox squirrels forage on the ground. McCrory Gardens
2010:05:11 , 2010:05:10 Fox squirrels forage greens. McCrory Gardens
2010:05:03 Squirrels forage catkins, two pups fell from tree. McCrory Gardens
2010:04:29 Squirrels forage catkins. McCrory Gardens
2010:04:27 Rusty and Klug forage. McCrory Gardens
2010:04:22 Bobby finds a baby rabbit. McCrory Gardens
2010:04:15 Rusty forages on the ground. McCrory Gardens
2010:03:23 , 2010:04:13 Rusty forages on the ground. McCrory Gardens
2010:04:08 Squirrels forage buds, maple sap, and ground items. McCrory Gardens
2010:04:01 Fox squirrels forage buds and maple. McCrory Gardens

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Emery, Roger Leitheiser's Farm
Date:
2018:01:08 , 2018:01:07
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Squirrels find Earcorn
Squirrel hiding behind tree
Hidey Squirrel

Location:
USA, Minnesota, Burnsville, Terrace Oaks Park
Date:
2017:11:20
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Nightime Photography
test
Instincts say, don't venture in the dark alone. But that's day-walker oppresion-think.
test
It still impresses me that I can point a camera at something I can't see, let it expose for a few minutes, and get a pretty reasonable picture.
test
Towers of KKMS in the distance. Rows of attenas render a broadcast directional. Not uncommon for these to be set up in the suburbs, pointed right between the Twin Cities. Probably cheaper than buying land at the midpoint for an omnidirectional transmitter.
test
Vroom, vroom.
test
A lighted picknick area and park for playing and eating in the dark. Which this time of year is about 6 p.m..
test
Stopped down the lens for diffractive spike fun. Quantum physics and all.
test
\s

Location:
USA, Minnesota, Burnsville, Terrace Oaks Park
Date:
2017:11:05
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Leaves have mostly fallen
Buckthorn and fallen leaves
Most of the leaves have fallen, save for buckthorn.
I wanted to try the new machien vision programs out there. Pl@ntNet seemed to correctly identify Buckthorn. iNaturalist basically said -- it's a plant, although it appears they are focusing on animals for now, so perhaps forgivable.
Panorama of pond
Pond Panorama created with Hugin
If you zoom way in, you can see a heron.
Great Blue heron
Great Blue Heron
Skunkie and Fluttershy on a mossy rock
Skunkie and Fluttershy on a mossy rock
The squirrels were out on the west park, but they left when I approached and never returned.
Birch Trees
Birch Trees
Turkey
Our local turkeys again

Location:
USA, Minnesota, Burnsville, Terrace Oaks Park
Date:
2017:11:04
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Squirrels work the ground in light mist
Trees
Misty evening
I think squirrels like damp weather. The ground is prehaps easier to dig and their sense of smell is improved when the soil is wet.
Squirrel
Gray Squirrel
Gray Squirrel eating Elm
Gray squirrel eating elm seeds
Squirrel
Four or five squirrels worked the ground around the oak trees in the evening.

Location:
USA, Minnesota, Two Harbors, Gooseberry Falls State Park
Date:
2017:10:28
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Red Squirrels eating Pinecones
Gosseberry
Gooseberry at Gooseberry Falls
Larch Pinecone

Red Squirrel on Tree
Red Squirrel facing downward on tree trunk.
Red Squirrel grooming
Red Squirrel grooming
Red Squirrel Closeup

Red Squrrel eating pinecone

Red Squirrel Close-up

Fall Landscape
Fall Landscape

Location:
USA, Minnesota, Burnsville, Terrace Oaks Park
Date:
2017:09:24
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Squirrels and Acorns
Gray squirrel scatterhoarding acorns
Gray squirrel scatterhoarding acorns
Trail
Trail
Birch Trees
Birch Trees
Squirrel burying acorn
Burying Acorn

Location:
USA, Minnesota, Burnsville, Terrace Oaks Park
Date:
2017:09:03
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Squirrels scatterhoarding acorns
Squirrels had been working on the acorns.
Oak Tree
Oak Tree
Acorn
Ripening acorns, squirrel food for winter
Goldenrod
Goldenrod, the end of summer

Location:
USA, Minnesota, Eagen, Lebanon Hills Regional Park
Date:
2016:01:15
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Some Evidence of Squirrels
Pine
Pine Trees
Pinecone Fragments
Evidence of squirrels

Location:
USA, Minnesota, Eagen, Lebanon Hills Regional Park
Date:
2016:01:11
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
todo: figure out my obscure format for this
Lake
Lake

Location:
USA, Minnesota, Burnsville, Terrace Oaks Park
Date:
2016:01:08
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Saw some squirrels but didn't get pictures
Winter Trail
Winter Trail

Location:
USA, Minnesota, Eagen, Lebanon Hills Regional Park
Date:
2016:01:07
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Red Squirrels forage in the snow
Winter
Winter
Red Squirrel
Red Squirrel on a Branch
Red Squirrel
Red Squirrel
Pine Trees
Pine Trees

Location:
USA, Minnesota, Eagen, Lebanon Hills Regional Park
Date:
2016:01:05
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Warm winter day
Trail covered in snow
The trail ahead
Stream and Snow
One of those false-spring days.
Deer
Deer
Muskrat on Lake
Muskrats were busy
Squirrel on a tree
And squirrels were out.

Location:
USA, Minnesota, Chaska, Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
Date:
2015:02:07
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Squirrels in the Arboretum
Red Barn
'The iconic Red Barn symbolizes the interdependence of people and plants.' (I'm writing this in the future and I guess the barn is an educational center now. I think it was just storage before.)
Pussy willow
Pussy willow
Pine cones
Squirrel's pine cone cores.
Gray squirrel
Gray squirrel
Gray squirrel
Cute gray squirrel
Red squirrel
Red Squirrel
Red squirrel
Red Squirrel close-up
Red squirrel close-up
Red Squirrel

Location:
USA, Minnesota, Richfield, Wood Lake Nature Center
Date:
2014:12:27
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Overcast day
Nature Adventure

Skunkie, Fluttershy, and I went on a walk in the nature center. :) We arrived at 1542 (Local time, GMT-6). It was a chilly day, but not too cold (about freezing, I would think). The sky has been overcase for a week or two now, and today was no different.
Nature Adventure
Fluttershy spotted a nest of some kind. I wasn't sure who made it. Wasps, perhaps?
Nature Adventure
Skunkie saw some woodpecker's work on a log. We've seen woodpeckers here before.
Nature Adventure
The ice was thin but Skunkie wanted to give it a try. Fluttershy stayed on land.
Nature Adventure
Be careful, Skunkie!
Nature Adventure
Skunkie and Fluttershy decided not to go across the walkway bridge spaning the marsh because it was windy.
Nature Adventure
We took a detour to look at the teepee's the kids had built in the play area. But no one was playing today. We left at 1641.
Nature Adventure
We managed to spot a few squirrels at 1616, 1617, 1625, 1639, and two at the feeder at 1640. We also saw a chipmunk at 1639.

Location:
USA, Minnesota, Richfield, Wood Lake Nature Center
Date:
2014:12:13
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
False-Spring Day
Nature Adventure
Wood Lake Nature Center
It's been a long time since I've gone for a walk -- too long perhaps. Today I went without the camera -- sometimes it's good to leave the camera at home, I think.
I arrived at Wood Lake Nature center at 1515 local time (UTC-6). It was a sort of overcast false spring, where the snow had turned to mud. Robbins were foraging in the leaf-litter. I noticed a camera, a camera-rail, and tripod abandoned near the trail, but two people approached with a brown board after awhile. They must have been working on a project of some sort.
I spotted a gray squirrel (Sciurus carloininsis) at 1515, 1517, 1520, 1522, 1540, 1611, 1613, 1614 (2), and 1621. Based on these 10 squirrel sightings, an observation time of 67 minutes, an average speed of 1.4 m/s, an observation radius of 10 meters, the Nature Center area of 60.7 hectare, an approximate land area of 50% of the park area, and an estimated probability of sighting a squirrel as active in the observation range of, say, 30%, I can estimate the total population of eastern gray squirrels in Wood Lake Nature center to be 90 (too lazy to compute uncertainty, safe to say it's at least 50% at 95% confidence interval. Actually without binning, I'm not sure how to model uncertainty -- seems it might goes as 1/sqrt(n) but I'm not sure why).
I heard the alarm of the red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) at 1515, 1543, and 1619, and saw a chipmunk (Tamias (Tamias) striatus) at 1619. I saw four young white-tail deer (Odocoileus virginianus) at 1551, probably the same group I've seen a few times over the past year or so. I left at 1621.

Location:
USA, Minnesota, Richfield, Wood Lake Nature Center
Date:
2014:10:04
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Fall Colors
Nature Adventure
I arrived at 1523L. Snow was predicted this morning, but it seems to have either never come or evaporated in daylight. It's not time for snow yet. Still, the north winds blow a bit bitter and the sun sets a little further south each day.
Nature Adventure
Cattails and milkweed send out their seeds for next spring.
Nature Adventure
At 1527L I first noticed a squirrel foraging in the underbrush. Later I saw one eating a walnut.
Nature Adventure
Some photographers were stalking the egrets and herons. I saw someone with what was probably a 600 mm f 5.6 telephoto lens mounted to his camera, no doubt birding.
Nature Adventure
Two squirrels searched under the bird feeders near the visitor center for sunflower seeds the birds dropped. I left at 1643L.

Location:
USA, Minnesota, St. Paul, Trout Brook Nature Sanctuary
Date:
2014:07:20
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Wildlife Suvery
I joined a group of photographers who were part of a nature survey for a newly opening park in what used to be part of a trainyard.
Nature Adventure

Nature Adventure
Naturalists had created some plates to collect prints using some paper on a board with graphite around the edges. They had found evidence of raccoon and a house cat.
Nature Adventure
They had also put down three transsexts of thirty ground-based sherman traps, which we helped check. They caught about five few voles, which they measured and massed.
Nature Adventure

Nature Adventure

Nature Adventure

Nature Adventure

Nature Adventure

Nature Adventure
Surprisingly in one the of the ground traps, the naturalists caught a Southern Flying Squirrel. This is the first time I've seen one in this state (or perhaps even) so that was pretty exciting. He wasn't thrilled with being weighed and measured, and he managed to escape before the researches had completed all their tasts. He bounced to a big tree, climbed up, and flew to another. It is very rare to see a flying squirrel glide in daylight.

Location:
USA, Minnesota, Richfield, Wood Lake Nature Center
Date:
2014:07:14
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
High Water
I confess I've fallen out of my habit of making observations, somewhat because I've been a bit depressed I suppose, as I move along the path of accepting my new perspectives on how I fit into this world. A long process, it seems...
I realize I find some affinity for exploration. An explorer, after all, is neither really a part of the world left behind nor a part of the new world he or she enters. It's a nice self-image, even if my exploration capacites are highly modest.
Nature Adventure

I arrived at Wood Lake Nature Center at 1834L and saw a chipmunk and squirrel, and a bit further along at 1842L, I saw a deer.
Nature Adventure
It was a beautiful summer day in the park.
Rainfall Graph
The rainfall this year has been higher than average,
Nature Adventure
making the mash more marshy, flooding the trail in places,
Nature Adventure
and forcing the poor sleepy ducks
Nature Adventure
to rest on the trail rather than the flooded bank below.
Nature Adventure

Nature Adventure
Ants and milkweed beetle of some sort crawled around the milkweeds in a grassy area.
Nature Adventure
I took my normal lens today, but here's a squirrel picture as a token effort at least.
Nature Adventure
And my exploration companions, Skunkie and Fluttershy.

Location:
USA, Minnesota, Chaska, Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
Date:
2014:05:14
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Squirrels and chipmunks forage amoung flowers
test
Spring is here and flowers are beginning to bloom, both in the planted gardens in and the wilder areas.
test
The bluebells have been growing so they can produce seed before the canopy fills and prevents them from getting sunlight.
test
Acorns were still visible on the ground -- some had been found by acorn wevels, but the squirrels were busy caching others.
test
Red Tailed Squirrel
test
Red Tailed Squirrel
test
Waterbug
A red-tailed gray squirrel cached nuts near a stream where waterbugs floated around on the surface.
test
I noticed some squirrels had tried to cache butternuts in the bark of the tree.
test
Red Squirrel
test
Chipmunk
Red squirrels and chipmunks were out as well.
test
Gray Squirrel on a Branch

Location:
USA, Minnesota, Richfield, Wood Lake Nature Area
Date:
2013:12:16
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Deer and Fox
Squirrel dreys
Gray Squirrels Dreys
Squirrel dreys
Gray Squirrels Dreys
Fox
Fox
Woods
Woods

Location:
USA, Minnesota, Richfield, Wood Lake Nature Area
Date:
2013:11:11
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Gray squirrels eating from feeders and compost pile
Gray Squirrel
Gray Squirrel in Tree
Gray Squirrels
Fat Gray Squirrel
Gray Squirrels
This is their compost ppile/squirrel feeder.
Gray Squirrels
Squirrel found something
Gray Squirrels
And under the bird feeder -- more food.
Gray Squirrels
More eating

Location:
USA, Minnesota, Chaska, Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
Date:
2013:11:02
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Mom visits Arboretum
Leaves
Fall is in full swing. My mom came to visit, so we went to the Arboretum to see the trees and animals.
Gray squirrel in leaves
Gray squirrel in fallen leaves
It happened to be a day for people with dogs, so perhaps the squirrels weren't as active as they might have otherwise been. But some red and gray squirrels were still around.
Chipmunk
And even a chipmunk was still out foraging under an oak. Mom got a new point and shoot camera -- this is her picture of the little guy. The camera has a lot of magnification for being such a small thing.
Red squirrel
Red Squirrel
Chipmunk in Oak
The chipmunk watched us from the safety of an oak.
Status of Cupid and Squirrel
In one of the gardens I noticed a statue of cupid, I'd guess.
Cupid with Squirrel
Perhaps unremarkable, except that the artist felt that perhaps Cupid needed a friend...

Location:
USA, Minnesota, Chaska, Minnesota Landscape Arborteum
Date:
2013:09:20
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Gray, red squirrels and chipmunks
Birch
The weather is still warm, and the trees are just beginning to respond to fall.
Humming Bird
In the soft light of morning, hummingbirds darted from flower to flower of the indigo spires (salvia hyrbid), occasionally stopping to fight an evil bee or quarrel with each other, moving faster than I could hope to track with my camera.
Hummingbirds fighting
Hummingbirds fighting
Chipmunk
Chipmunks were working on their winter caches.
Red squirel eating black walnut
One red squirrel spent some time releasing black walnuts from a tree, letting them fall. Fox squirrels, by comparison, carry each nut down the tree in their mouth, but the fox squirrel is larger than the tiny reds, so I suppose the reds find it easier just to let the nut fall.
Red squirrel eatinb acorn
The red and gray squirrels also foraged for fallen acorns, which were plentiful.
Grass
I arrived at 0818L. The acorns have mostly fallen from the trees, but at 0913L I saw a crow in a tree eating some that hadn't.

Location:
USA, Minnesota, Chaska, Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
Date:
2013:06:16
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Squirrels and Chipmunks
Nature Stuff
I arrived in the morning, while the chipmunks and tree squirrels were out foraging.
Nature Stuff
The Eastern Cottonwood trees are producing a lot of cotton this year. It covers the ground near the trees like a light layer of snow.
Nature Stuff

Nature Stuff

Nature Stuff

Nature Stuff

Nature Stuff

Nature Stuff
The Eastern Cottonwood trees are producing a lot of cotton this year. It covers the ground near the trees like a light layer of snow.
Nature Stuff
:P

Location:
USA, Minnesota, Chaska, Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
Date:
2013:05:20
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Squirrels enjoying spring
Nature Stuff
The world is fast becomming green, and the fruit trees were blooming in whites and pinks.
Nature Stuff
The past few days have been wet. The squirrels seem to like the wet ground, which makes digging and smelling easier.
Nature Stuff
I observed gray squirrels digging up acorns and walnuts, which means that they had stored plenty for the winter. Normally the squirrels would be focusing more on greens this time of year, but I didn't observe any eating catkins or buds.
Nature Stuff
I wanted to find a family of squirrels, since this is the time when they would be venturing out, but I only found one timid youngster.
Nature Stuff
I did pass a group of young owls, though. A man who was probably a naturalist said they were one month old.
Nature Stuff
Chipmunks were out as well, also finding buried nuts.
Nature Stuff
And the noisy little red robbers were scurrying around at about twice the speed of their gray cousins.
Nature Stuff

Nature Stuff

Location:
USA, Minnesota, Richfield, Wood Lake Nature Center
Date:
2013:04:14
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Rainy Day
Nature Adventure

I arrived at the lake in the afternoon (2049Z) while a light sprinkle was becomming rain.
Nature Adventure
Geece meandered along the path, stopping to eat from the fenceline.
Nature Adventure

Nature Adventure
One gray squirrel crossed ahead of me. The other squirrels were apparently avoiding the wet for the time being.
Nature Adventure
In Brookings I would be observing the sugaring activity of the squirrels, but here humans seem to have figured it out, too.
Nature Adventure
Seaguls and Hooded Merganser Ducks also braved the wind and rain to swim the half frozen lake.
Nature Adventure

Location:
USA, Minnesota, Chaska, Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
Date:
2013:03:16
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Gray Squirrels
My aunt and I arrived at the Arboretum in the early afternoon (1915Z). Several gray squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis), one red squirrel (Tamisciurus hudsonicus), and two chipmunks (Tamias striatus) were mulling through damp scattered seeds beneath a bird feeder. These were the first chipmunks I've sighed since last fall.
Nature Stuff

Nature Stuff
Further along the path we spotted gray squirrels as they perched on branches and snow banks to chew threw bits of whatever they had found on the ground.
Nature Stuff

Nature Stuff
The wind blew chilly but the sun worked just hard enough that the squirrels had brown noses to show for foraging in the small islands of muck and mud.
Nature Stuff

Location:
USA, Minnesota, Chaska, Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
Date:
2013:02:02
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Gray and Red Squirrels forage in winter
Nature Stuff

Nature Stuff
I arrived at the arboretum in the early afternoon, and both the red and gray squirrels were busy searching acorns under the snow and carrying them to nearby trees to eat.
Nature Stuff
A deer, too, was wandering through the trees, but was more easily frightened than the squirrels.
Nature Stuff

Nature Stuff

Location:
USA, Minnesota, Chaska, Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
Date:
2013:01:05
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Gray and red squirrels forage in winter.
Nature Stuff

I arrived at the Arboretum at 1933Z (1:33 P.M.) intending to meet a photography group. But I got lost on the way and missed the start by an hour and a half. :/
Nature Stuff

The squirrels were still around, likely out in greater numbers than usual to forage in the still, sunny winter air.
Nature Stuff
Wheras in other places in the Twin Cities, the red squirrel (Tamasciurus hudsonicus) seems scarce, here I saw or heard them nearly as often as gray.
Nature Stuff
As well as digging up cached Bur and White oak acorns, some squirrels also foraged Amur Maple seeds.
Nature Stuff
I spotted one gray squirrel adding insulation to his nest in an old oak tree.
Nature Stuff

Nature Stuff
Home, sweet home.

Location:
USA, Minnesota, Richfield, Wood Lake Nature Center
Date:
2012:12:21
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Gray squirrel at feeders
Nature Adventure
The soltice -- when the apex of the sun is southernmost, shadows longest, and daylight shortest.
Nature Adventure

I arrived at 1652Z, and as usual, only saw significant squirrel activity at the feeders and surrounding trees overlooking the frozen lake.
Nature Adventure

Nature Adventure

Worried just a little by the stranger in their woods.
Nature Adventure

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2011:07:30
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Fox squirrels eating pinecones
Nature Adventure

Nature Adventure
At 1208Z (7:08 A.M.), I noticed Charlie who was acting silly, diggingi in the ground and jumping around, as he worked his way over to the Scotts pine trees to eat pine cones.
Nature Adventure
Meanwhile, two other squirrels were foraging the Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) on the other side of the garden.
Nature Adventure

Nature Adventure

Nature Adventure

Nature Adventure

The Ponderosa pine cones are a little bigger than the Scots pine cones. (It took the female 4-10 minutes to finish eating one.) As some
squirrels were eating Scots pines and some were eating Ponderosa, I can't tell which they like better.
Nature Adventure

The Black Walnuts (Juglans nigra) are coming along, but I don't see much squirrel activity there -- the squirrels must be waiting the them to ripen further.
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One of whom was female who has nipples showing.

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2011:07:17
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Little Squirrel Activity
Nature Adventure
[Stock Image]
I arrived at 1129Z (7:29 A.M.) but didn't notice squirrel activity until 1250Z when I saw two squirrels eating green Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) pine cones high in the tree until I left at 1300Z.
The squirrels will probably spend hours high up there, barely visible among the thick pine branches. I sometimes only notice them when I see pine cone pieces falling from above. They generally work from the top of the tree to the bottom. One thing I've noticed about squirrels is that they waste very little. Raccoons get a bad reputation for pulling down ears of sweet corn just to take a few bites. Cattle will trample food and leave it if you let them. But squirrels seldom let a single apple or pine nut or walnut go uneaten. Well, I suppose they might bury a few then forget about them -- but aside from that they are frugal animals.

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2011:07:09
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Little squirrel activity
Nature Adventure

I arrived at 1257Z (7:57 A.M.), but noticed very little squirrel activity.
At 1314Z, I saw a moribund crow (Corvus sp.) beneath a maple. Several crows called out from the trees above as I approached, perhaps keeping watch. I don't think that there's anything I could do for the crow, though -- the crow could only blink and looked very close to death.
I noticed a squirrel who was probably Klug eating from the garbage, but this weekend there is an "arts in the park" event -- a nearby park, not this one, but still, there were a lot of people around. I didn't want to take pictures with all the people watching me, but I might go out very early tomorrow when there will be fewer people. I probably won't see anything because squirrel activity is low -- they spend a lot of time sleeping or resting high in the trees when the weather is hot. But I can try.
This looks like it's going to be a good year for the squirrels. The apples are growing. The black walnut trees will have a good crop. Right now the young walnuts with the husk are about 3 cm in diameter, but even so the squirrel have been sampling them. There are young acorns on the trees. Fall maturing maples are beginning to show small seeds. There should be a lot of food this winter.

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2011:06:25
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Charlie forages garbage.
Nature Adventure
At 1220Z (7:20 A.M.), I noticed Charlie (or Klug -- they look the same) foraging in the trash bin, again. He found a fruit snack, which he seemed to really like.
Nature Adventure
And some other odds and ends.
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If this is Charlie, his face looks a lot better.
Nature Adventure
Then at 1237Z, he started making his way over to the apartment complexes and businesses across the street, likely for more "foraging."

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2011:06:19
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Charlie found orange chicken, pictures of bugs.
Nature Adventure
At 1134Z, I saw Charlie who had found himself a large piece of orange chicken, which he finished off, then I lost track of him. I assume he went to sleep somewhere.
Nature Adventure
He's missing some fur on both sides of his mouth. It looks a little worse than last time I saw him, but hopefully it's nothing serious. Perhaps he's just scratching his face too much.
At 1236Z, I saw a male squirrel shuffling around, but I couldn't get an ID.
Nature Adventure
The rabbits were out, as usual. As were the grackles, Robbins, goldfinch, sparrow, crow, cardinal, thrush, and nuthatch.
Nature Adventure

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And bugs.

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2011:06:12
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Charlie, Mating
Nature Adventure
I arrived at 1020Z (5:20 A.M.), but I did not see squirrel activity until 1054Z (5:54 A.M.), when I saw Charlie foraging seeds from the Freeman maple (Acer x Freemanii). Charlie had a bit of a scar on his face.
Charlie moved on northward to join a group of three males at 1109Z (6:09 A.M.), who were competing for a female. By 1124Z, all but one male had left the area, and I presume the remaining male was Charlie. He repeatedly tried to approach the female, but she complained loudly with grunting and squeaking each time. When I left at 1217Z (7:17 A.M.), the two were still in the tree, in more or less the same place.
Nature Adventure

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2011:06:04 , 2011:05:21
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Spring
I went out briefly in the morning (1246Z -1353Z), and saw one squirrel. My luck isn't much good in spring, and I haven't seen the regular squirrels in awhile -- I hope they are all OK.
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The flowers are blooming, and the Silver maple seeds are ripe and falling (most maples produce seeds in fall, but silver maples produce in spring). I'll bet the squirrels are enjoying the seeds, even though I didn't see any.
Nature Adventure
I did see one timid female (?), who went up a tree to work on a stick nest.

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2011:05:17
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Female eating Oak Catkins
Nature Adventure
I went out in the evening, at 2309Z (6:09 P.M.) while the weather was quite nice. I saw a little female squirrel eating Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa) catkins. She wasn't sure what to think of me. At 0001Z she moved on to a willow to forage the young leaves.
In the six to eight hectares I surveyed, there were no other active squirrels, but the rabbits came out a little and I spotted some voles. There were a lot of common grackles (Quiscalus quiscula). They outnumbered the other species several times over.

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2011:05:13
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Foraging Maple Seeds; Skunk Den
Today was cool, cloudy, and misty. On my way over, I saw a squirrel showing another how to get into a dumpster by using a nearby sign post. On my way back, I saw one in a tree enjoying his "treasures."
Nature Adventure
At 1256Z, I caught up with a squirrel foraging sugar maple seeds on the ground. (Video Link), while a construction crew worked in the background. But this was the only squirrel I saw all morning. It's odd how they all sometimes just seem to disappear.
But I took a tour of the arboretum.
Nature Adventure
The hawks that live in the north east corner yelled at me for awhile when I came close to their nest. There might be young in their nest; I don't know.
Nature Adventure
A skunk dens in the same general out-of-the-way area that the hawk nest is in.
Nature Adventure
The birds were out: Robbins, grackle, starling, crows, nuthatch, sparrow, thrush, and goldfinch. I saw the voles scampering around, but they are hard to photograph.
Nature Adventure
And the rabbits were out -- this one seems to have been born this spring. But there were no squirrels, after the one eating the maple disappeared.

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2011:05:06
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Rain and little squirrel activity.
Nature Adventure
And although plant growth creeps too slowly for human perception, it will be a matter of days before the new leaves fill the skeleton tree crowns with green.
Nature Adventure
Spring flowers are blooming. From the small flowers of the trees to the enlarged flower of cultivars, they are a visual sign of spring. (On a side note, isn't it odd that plant structures designed to attract pollinating insects also attract people.)
Today, I arrived at 1242Z, but it was raining lightly. Sometimes the squirrels forage in spite of the rain, but today, while the thunder rolled, the squirrels slept. I left at 1349Z, having only spotted one squirrel briefly. I hope for better luck next week.

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2011:04:17
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Rusty eating Ranch
Nature Adventure

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2011:04:09
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Squirrels lick maple sap.
Nature Adventure
Today was gray with a light drizzle that turned into rain after I left. But the squirrels were active, so they didn't seem to mind. When I arrived at 1352Z (8:52 A.M.), I saw Rusty licking maple sap.
Nature Adventure
After a little bit, Rusty scampered off and Barry replaced him on the maple tree.
Nature Adventure
At 1416Z, I noticed Rusty foraging maple seeds on the ground. But by about 1430Z, I lost track of both of them.
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At 1439Z, I happened to scare a Richardson's ground squirrel (Urocitellus richardsonii). The ground squirrel is small, so it is probably a pup from last year. I left at 1455Z (9:55 A.M.) while there was no squirrel activity evident.

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2011:04:03
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Squirrels lick sap
I arrived a little after 1400Z (9:00 A.M.), and where before there had been a lot of activity, there was none. The sap was no longer dripping from the maples, and that may have been part of the reason.
Typical transport of water to the leaves, as I understand it, depends of capillary action and evaporation, but the maple sap is being pushed up the tree with enough pressure for it to drip out. I'm not sure what mechanism causes this, but I assume the energy comes from day-to-night temperature changes, and the change must not have been large enough today.
Nature Adventure
At 1440Z, I saw Barry carrying a large piece of bread. He did a thorough job of burying it in the moist ground. I'm not sure it will be much good when he comes back for it, but anyway.
Nature Adventure
The melting snow has made the whole place a little swampy, and the squirrels navigate around or jump over the puddles.
Nature Adventure
Barry went on to scent mark a willow. Given the obvious marks in the wood, it seems like a pretty popular place to scent mark.
Nature Adventure
Barry then played a little with a stick, and worked his way farther north. He was the only squirrel I saw, and I left shortly after.

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2011:04:02
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Squirrels licking maple sap
It's sugaring season again, and the maple sap drips from the trees -- with a little help from the grooves the squirrels gnawed in the bark.
Nature Adventure
At 1406Z (9:06 A.M.), I caught Charlie licking maple sap from one of the sugar maples (Acer saccharum) in the garden.
Nature Adventure
Some places he came back to as the sap he licked off was replaced with new sap, and a few times he took a break to eat some pine nuts.
Nature Adventure
He worked on the maples until at least 1442Z.
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I saw Barry licking maple sap as well from from 1447Z to 1450Z.
A dog wandered through at about 1500Z and squirrel activity decreased. I left at 1600Z (11:00 A.M.).

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2011:03:31
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Klug and Rusty Forage on the Ground
The plants are starting to show signs of life. Some trees have buds; some plants are starting to break the soil.
Nature Adventure
Here's a picture of dogwood (Cornus sp.) catkins and cones.
Nature Adventure
I arrived at 1418Z (9:18 A.M.), and at 1508Z I spotted Rusty foraging on the ground.
Nature Adventure
At 1512Z, I saw Klug who was eating pine cones high in a Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris). I left at 1554Z while Klug was still eating pine cones, although I didn't see where Rusty went.

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2011:03:22
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Eating pinecones
Today, I just went out with the video camera, so I'm deriving these pictures from the video.
Nature Adventure
Our warm spell is coming to an end, and the next few days are suppose to be snowy, beginning tonight. Today was windy.
Nature Adventure
I saw Klug at 1450Z (9:50 A.M.), who was foraging near the willows. He eventually worked is way over to the pine trees, and began eating pine cones.
Nature Adventure
[Video - Klug eating a bit of Apple.] todo: find video
Nature Adventure
After a little, I saw Rusty as well, who was foraging on the ground, and Klug eventually came over to join him.
Nature Adventure
[Video - Rusty eating a pine cone.]
Then my battery died, so I left.

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2011:03:17
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Rusty goes scent marking.
Nature Adventure
This week has been amazingly nice. The snow is retreating, and color is beginning to wake up from its winter hibernation.
Nature Adventure
I first saw a squirrel at 1400Z (9:00 A.M.). At 1413Z (9:13 A.M.), I saw Klug chewing on the woodwork.
Nature Adventure
Then he went on to pick pieces of some mushrooms.
Nature Adventure
A few minutes later Rusty came romping over, but Klug chased Rusty to the next tree.
Nature Adventure
The animosity didn't faze Rusty and he went on the celebrate the warm weather with some flips,
Nature Adventure
between eating pine cones from the ground the melting snow uncovered.
Nature Adventure
Then he rested for some time in a fir until about 10:00 A.M.
Nature Adventure
After he woke, he climbed an Elm to nibble buds, then went exploring northward.
Nature Adventure
Scent marking tree after tree, working his way north. He crossed the stream formed by melting snow.
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And continuing to mark trees.
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Inside and out.
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I left him at about noon, after following him nearly 500 meters from his home range (over 1/4 mile). He marked trees in over a dozen hectares, but there are still a lot of trees left. Good luck, Rusty.

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2011:03:10
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Little squirrel activity.
Nature Adventure

I arrived at 8:41 A.M., and although it was a nice day I didn't see any activity. I stopped back a few times, leaving for good at 11:05 A.M, but I only saw a squirrel briefly near the road. It's strange, there's food in the garden where I looked, but some days the squirrels just aren't around. It makes me think there's a tiny bit of herd instinct in them, and they've all taken off somewhere else together.

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2011:02:24
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Little squirrel activity.
Nature Adventure

I arrived at about 1600Z (10:00 A.M.) and left a little after. I only got a glimpse now and then of a squirrel moving through the snow. I saw Vexil, but no others I could recognize.

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2011:02:19
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Rusty the fox squirrel forages and scent marks.
Nature Adventure
A storm is coming tonight, and it will get cold again, so I went out again while it was still nice. When I arrived at a little before 10:00 A.M., I noticed Vexil on the move, and Rusty eating some little red berries. Rusty then went on to forage some maple on the ground that the melting snow revealed.
Nature Adventure

I massed Rusty, and he's up to 740 grams. He's gained about 10 g from last time I massed him, which was in January.
Nature Adventure
Rusty then went on to scent mark trees in his area, or I suppose what he figures is his area. He chewed away a little bark, then rubbed his cheeks on at least half a dozen trees.
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Rusty met Klug (or Charlie -- I can't keep them apart very well), who Rusty made way for when they got too close.
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Rusty may be marking, but Klug is still dominate in the four or five hectares that Rusty probably figures is his.

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2011:02:16
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Fox squirrels forage pine nuts.
Nature Adventure
This week has been surprisingly warm. At a little after 1600Z (10:00 A.M.), I saw the squirrels foraging Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris).
Nature Adventure
I saw the timid Vexil running around. He seems to be always on the move. The tail adds grace to a squirrel's run and makes it look smoother, and without his tail Vexil looks like a hopping rabbit, but he still gets around just fine.
Nature Adventure
Charlie, who managed to get himself pretty dirty, was eating pine cones.
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And so was Rusty.
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Charlie was still eating pine cones when I left at 1755Z (11:55 A.M.), but Rusty, after exploring his old area, disappeared.
Some of the old nests in the garden are falling apart. It seems to only take a few months for most to fall apart. The squirrel will probably repair them if they are going to spend more time in the garden now.
I uploaded an experimental video to youtube. (Squirrels Rusty and Charlie). It shows Charlie first with a dirty face, then two clips of Rusty. It's not very interesting, but I wanted to see if uploading video would work.
I'm borrowing a Sony DCR-HC21 digital camcorder. It's been awhile since I've worked with video, and I think it should be crisper than it is, so I've got to work on camera and compression options. If anyone has tips, let me know. I'll start collecting stock video.

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2011:02:10
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Little squirrel activity.
Nature Adventure

I arrived at 1744Z, and noticed one squirrel in a pine tree. The animal stopped whatever it was doing to look at me, and crouch down, so I know the squirrel was on not used to seeing people. I walked (or waded) through the whole garden, even the north area, with the exception of some wooded areas off the trail that I avoided for convenience. I noticed no squirrels, few prints, and no evidence of erbation. The squirrel have either been largely dormant, or have moved elsewhere to find food. On the way out, I saw two in the apple trees across the road, which I would have assumed were clear by now. They must still be the popular place.
A cat or some other animal about that size, has been patrolling.

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2011:02:05
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Little squirrel activity.
Nature Adventure

I went out briefly, hoping to see Rusty, but at 1647Z (10:47 A.M.) I noticed no squirrels activity in the south area, and only a few tracks with no evidence that the squirrel had been eating anything. I walked the whole garden, and noticed only one squirrel eating maple up north at 1729Z (11:29 A.M.), but when I left at 1747Z (11:47 A.M.) saw no others in the south area I usually walk. While I was there it started to snow (as if we need more snow -- it's knee deep or better already).
Lately, getting pictures just hasn't been working out.

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2011:01:31
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Little squirrel activity.
Nature Adventure

At 1:34 P.M. (1934Z), I noticed five squirrels in the ash trees outside my apartment, two males, and three unknown. They mostly rested with intermittent chasing, and they were out until at least 5:40 P.M. (2340Z). Since a storm was moving through, and the temperature was about 9 °F (-13 °C), I wouldn't have expected the fox squirrels to stay out past one or two P.M.. So I suspect one was a female that entered estrous, and the others were four males out chasing her. Today I see no activity.

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2011:01:24
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Prints
Nature Adventure

Today was a nice day (20 degrees F) following a week or two of temperatures around zero degrees Fahrenheit, but when I went to see squirrels in the late morning, I didn't even see one active animal. They may have been foraging across the road or in the construction area.
I took a walk through a larger area than I usually observe, and noticed that there are still maple and crab apple trees with food, which surprises me, since I expected a homogeneous consumption of food sources by the squirrels. At least this means that have more food that I expected.
I could tell by the prints that there has been squirrel activity in the past few days, and they have eaten a few pine cones. I saw a red-tailed hawk, a cardinal, and crows. From prints, I can see the rabbits have been active through the whole garden, as have cats, and a few voles, but I didn't notice any other (wild animal) prints. It's surprising I've never seen evidence of raccoon here, even though they live elsewhere in town.
I'm sorry, no squirrel pictures today.

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2011:01:14 , 2011:01:04
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Squirrel crossing road.
Nature Adventure
When I arrived at about 10:00 A.M. I saw a squirrel crossing the road, probably going to the crab apples and pine trees across the road. It's off the garden property, so I don't take pictures there. Crossing the road is what got a few squirrels in trouble last year with cars, so we'll hope for the best.
I only saw one squirrel in the garden as he (or she) crawled into a drey. There are some prints from activity in the past few days, but all the prints look like the squirrel are passing through or searching. Except for some areas when I could see the squirrel had eaten a little bark, I saw no evidence that they were eating anything in the garden. There's a lot of rabbit prints in the pine bushes, so they've been busy, but I never see them forage during daylight in winter.
Nature Adventure
Here's an older picture of the prints of a squirrel and vole (or other similar rodent). It's surprising how the vole prints look like the squirrel prints in miniature, except for the part where you can see the tail drug in the snow.

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2011:01:07
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Squirrel slept all morning.
Nature Adventure

Yesterday was nice, and today windy and cooler. I went out briefly in the late morning and from the lack of prints in the snow that fell last night I could see the squirrels had slept away the whole morning.

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2011:01:04
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Squirrels eating crabapple.
Nature Adventure
Squirrel activity did not begin until late morning, when Rusty and another squirrel began eating maple and crab apple.
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In both cases, it's slim pickings, but squirrels aren't an animal to waste the little that's left.
I massed Rusty, and he weighs 10% less than last time.
I also took some quick measurements of squirrel strides from snow prints, and made a quick box and whisker.
It's not uncommon for their strides to be over a meter (3 feet) on level ground.

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2010:12:27
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Eating maple and pinecone.
Nature Adventure
I went out briefly, and saw two squirrel in the Armur maple (Acer ginnala) eating keys. There isn't must left for maple, and I think in a week or two it will all be gone.
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Leaving only one major food for the squirrels -- pine nuts.
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Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2010:12:21
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Eating pinecone and maple.
Air Temperature: -12 °C (12 °F) (Source: METAR from Station KBKX)
Nature Adventure
It snowed yesterday, and I could see the voles have been digging holes in the snow, some with prints leading to them, some without. They probably lead to sleeping quarters under the snow.
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When I arrived at 1550Z (9:50 A.M.), one young squirrel was foraging maple (Acer ginnala). At 1620Z, another joined him, at 1638Z, a third, and at 1638Z, a fourth.
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At 1649Z, one moved over to search the apple trees for a few remaining apples, printing his squirrel dotted-lines in the snow. At 1717Z, I saw a squirrel searching the thorny apple tree, but soon gave up.
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At 1750Z, Rusty came up to me.
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I gave him a walnut, which he cached, and I gave him a second which he spent a whole thirty minutes eating.
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Then he went on to eat some pine (Pinus sylvestris). He changed his mind, after a cone and went to a stashed Walnut, but I left before he would have got done eating the second one.
I was able to mass Rusty.
Rusty's Mass at 2010DEC21 1829Z ± 1 (Hex TAI 0x400000003A74C540 ± 30):
816 ± 5 g - 1 ± 1 g = 815 ± 5 g
(Measurement - Tare = Mass)
Nature Adventure

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2010:12:16
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Squirrels eating maple seeds
Air Temperature: -12 - (-10) °C (12-14 °F) (Source: METAR from Station KBKX)
Nature Adventure
Today was nice, following a little bit of snow yesterday. When I arrived at about 10:00 A.M., I saw several squirrels foraging maple keys in the Amur maples (Acer ginnala), and in a bit, I tallied seven in the several maple trees. The apples are all but gone.
Nature Adventure
Oddly enough, in winter the squirrels seem less wary, and will let me get closer than I'd normally expect. Even so, I could hear this young male considering sounding an alarm at me, but then he thought better of it and went back to eating.
Nature Adventure
Rusty found me again, and I gave him a walnut which he quickly buried. I dug it up and gave it to him again (yeah, I'm a bad person), and this time he dug a few fake holes before burring the walnut. I went to get the scale, but when I returned at about 11:30 A.M., Rusty was gone either to sleep or to join the others in the maple tree. When I left a little before noon, there were three squirrels still foraging maple
For the squirrels, I estimate the following food supplies remain of the average output of the trees in a given year:
Apple: 2%
Pine: 80% -- Hard to estimate
Maple: 30%
Acorn: 0%
Walnut: 0% -- Except for Rusty's cache.
Nature Adventure
The squirrels had not finished the apples until late January or early February last year, judging from my old pictures, and it seems like it took at least another month last year to deplete the maples to their current state.
But on the positive side, there are few young to compete for food, the older squirrels such as Rusty are fat, and the winter has so far been mild.
Nature Adventure
In the winter the animals have few secrets, since so much gets written in the snow. So in winter one has the advantage of being able to watch animal behavior without actually seeing them, so I can tell where the rabbits have been the night before and where they sleep, along with the movement of the little vole-like rodents (it seems there's a small group that move from one nest to another every week or so). I can also tell that aside from rabbits, squirrels, voles, birds, (and people), no other animal has been in the garden recently -- so the squirrels are pretty free of predatory threats.

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2010:12:12
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Squirrels in maple.
Air Temperature: -17 °C (1 °F) (Source: METAR from Station KBKX)
Nature Adventure
A front has moved through, and although the storm didn't deposit much snow, the weather has cooled. I went out briefly, and saw two squirrels foraging in an Armur maple (Acer ginnala), one may have been Penny, but I couldn't tell for sure.

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2010:12:09
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Squirrels eating; Weigh Rusty
Air Temperature: -2 to 3 °C (28-37 °F) (Source: METAR from Station KBKX)
Nature Adventure
I arrived at 1638Z (10:38 A.M.) and saw only Barry working on Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) pine cones. He right front paw still seems a little misshapen from last year, but he gets around alright.
Nature Adventure
Discarded winter berry (Ilex verticillata) pieces were on the ground below some of the plants, so it seems the squirrel have been eating them. At 1652Z, a squirrel began eating the few remaining crab apples from the thorny apple tree -- the apple tree with any apples left.
Nature Adventure
At 1846Z, Rusty came toward me.
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He then began eating some part of the Heuchera Mahogony fowers (Heuchera sp.) from under the snow.
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Afterward, Rusty rested a bit, groomed,
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and began eating Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) pine cones at 1929Z until I left at 1932Z.
I massed Rusy again.
Rusty's Mass at 2010DEC09 1859Z (Hex TAI 400000003A68CAA0 ± 30):
843 ± 5 g - (-3 ± 1 g) = 846 ± 5 g
Rusty's Mass at 2010DEC09 1901Z (Hex TAI 400000003A68CAF0 ± 30):
847 ± 5 g - (-1 ± 1 g) = 848 ± 5 g
Nature Adventure

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2010:12:02
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Collecting Nest Insulation; Mass
Today was a nice warm day.
Nature Adventure
And when I arrived at 1651Z (10:51 A.M.) I saw Rusty eating maple seeds while other squirrels ate pine cones,
Nature Adventure
and crab apples from the thorny tree, which the squirrel have saved for last.
Nature Adventure
A little latter, Rusty was busy adding insulation to his nest high in a Scots pine.
Nature Adventure
Occasionally taking short breaks to snack on fallen maple seeds.
Nature Adventure
He hauled load after load, and I watched him carry over half a dozen mouth-fulls of leaves up his tree.
Nature Adventure
808 ± 5 g
When I left at about 1900Z (1:00 P.M.), Rusty was still working on his nest.
And I finally got him to cooperate with the scale.
Rusty's Mass at 2010NOV02 1809Z ± 1 (Hex TAI 0x400000003A61C1B3 ± 2D):
801 ± 5 g - (-7) ± 1 g = 808 ± 5 g
(Measurement - Tare = Mass)
Measurement mass uncertainty is based on Rusty not sitting very still. The scale was a Mainstays Digital Kitchen Scale PN 33654, which has no published precision recommendations I can find, so uncertainties are assumed to be ± 1 g. Uncertainties were added in quadrature for the final measurement.

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2010:11:25
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Squirrels forage maple.
Air Temperature: (-14) °C (6.8 °F) (Source: METAR from Station KBKX)
Nature Adventure
There was a small dusting of snow last night, and I could tell by the prints that the voles have moved into a large juniper bush.
Nature Adventure
I didn't see any squirrel activity until 1652Z (10:52 A.M.), when I saw Rusty eating maple (Acer ginnala), and another squirrel eating apple. I wanted to mass Rusty but he didn't come down, but he was too busy eating, and I had to leave at 1710Z.
Nature Adventure

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2010:11:18
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Voles, Rusty
Air Temperature: (-6) to (-2) °C (21-28 °F) (Source: METAR from Station KBKX)
Nature Adventure
(Milkweed the voles were eating the seeds from earlier.)
Today was a cool overcast day. I arrived at 1615Z (10:15 A.M.), and noticed no squirrel activity until I briefly saw one at 1639Z. Rusty appeared at 1705Z, and he found a Walnut which he spent 39 minutes eating.
Nature Adventure
After finishing the walnut, he ate crab apples near a young male who was eating maple seeds, and then climbed into a Penny's old nest high in a Scot's pine (Pinus sylvestrus) at 1810Z (12:10 A.M.).

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2010:11:11
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Fat Rusty Forages.
Nature Adventure
I arrived at 1513Z (9:13 A.M.) and could hear squirrels working on the Scots pine pine cones (Pinus sylvestris), and at 1529Z, some were eating crab apple as well.
Nature Adventure
At 1604Z, the activity wained a bit. One squirrel tried to nap on a branch.
Nature Adventure
At 1627Z, I caught Vexil (No-tail) stripping bark from a cottonwood (Populus deltoides), probably for a nest, but Vexil didn't trust me enough to carry on with his project while I watched.
Nature Adventure
At 1640Z, Rusty found me. I gave him a walnut which he cached, after the long process of figuring out the best place.
Nature Adventure
He then went on to lick the ends of pine branches,
Nature Adventure

and eat pine cones from the ground.
Nature Adventure
At 1654Z, Rusty dug up a cone flower (Echinacea purpurea), which he spent about fifteen minutes eating.
Rusty then alternated between napping and eating pine cones until I left.
Nature Adventure
At one point he chased another young squirrel, who had disturbed his nap. The youngster seemed to be building a nest nearby.
The voles (or other similar rodents) have been grabbing bits of apple to take back to the cover of a juniper to eat, but the little guys were to fast for me -- my picture was just a blur. A lone Robbin seems to remain, holding out before flying south for the winter.
Nature Adventure
And Rusty seems to be getting more and more ready for winter each time I see him.

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2010:11:04
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Squirrels forage Maple.
-14 °C to -10 °C Source: METAR station KBKX
Nature Adventure
When I arrived at 1355Z (8:55 A.M.), I noticed Penny (maybe) eating Amur maple (Acer ginnala), and young squirrel eating crab apples. By 1415Z, five squirrels were foraging; two in the crab apples, two in the Amur maple, and one in a Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris). By 1515Z (10:15 A.M.), however, all was quiet, until I briefly saw a squirrel eating European black pine pine cones (Pinus nigra) at 1552Z. I did not see Rusty, nor did I get much for pictures. For birds, I only saw cardinals and sparrows, so the Robins may be migrating.

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2010:10:28
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Rusty, fall leaves.
Air Temperature: (-2° C) (28 °F)
Nature Adventure
Halloween and summer's end are fast approaching. Some snow fell yesterday, but the ground isn't yet frozen, so it will probably be a few weeks before any accumulates. Only a few trees still have a significant portion of their leaves remaining.
Nature Adventure
At 1344Z, a scared Vexil from the crab apple tree, and at 1348Z, three squirrels were eating Amur Maple (Acer ginnala), as a hawk watched from a nearby tree. The hawk flew away as I approached.
Nature Adventure
Rusty found me, and it looks like he's not having much trouble finding enough to eat.
Nature Adventure
Rusty spent some of the morning sitting in a buffet of Acer ginnala.
Nature Adventure
Then at 1502Z came down to turn a few high-flying squirrel flips.
Nature Adventure

Nature Adventure
And spend some time digging up and reburying walnuts and/or buckeye. I wounder if he was moving his stash or stealing someone else's.
Nature Adventure

Nature Adventure

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2010:10:23
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Crab-apples and dead cat.
Nature Adventure

At 1857Z, I noticed a squirrel foraging crabbapples, and at 1902Z, in Acer ginnala. At 1910Z, I saw a dead rabbit (Sylvilagus floridanus) -- likely preyed on by a feral cat.

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2010:10:22
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Crab-apple.
Nature Adventure

At 1530Z, I noticed two squirrels foraging in the crab-apple trees, but at 1611Z, I noticed no activity.

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2010:10:08
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Squirrels forage pine and maple.
Nature Adventure

Nature Adventure

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2010:09:24
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Rusty forages and poses.
Nature Adventure
It's fall -- the season of vibrant color.
Nature Adventure
And a happy time for the squirrels, when the winter caching is through, the weather is comfortable, and food is plentiful and easy to find.
The squirrel's began foraging later in the day than I expected, perhaps at 9:30 A.M. They mostly foraged pine cones.
Nature Adventure
Rusty found me again,
Nature Adventure

Nature Adventure

Nature Adventure
And he followed me to the flower bed, where I took some pictures.
Nature Adventure

Nature Adventure

Nature Adventure
Mushrooms have sprung from the damp ground,
But after a quick sniff, Rusty didn't seem interested.
Nature Adventure
Rusty only bothered with pine and Buckeye. Before I left I saw Vexil -- the short tailed squirrel. It's good to see he's still around.

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2010:09:16
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Squirrels forage pine cones.
10 °C Source: METAR station KBKX
Nature Adventure
Fall is in the air. The weather has cooled and the leaves of some of the maples have completely changed colors
If we draw a line that runs through the center of the Earth and center of the sun, we would noticed that the places the line intersects the earth's surface is moving southward -- farther from the northern hemisphere. The days are growing shorter, and, more importantly, each day the sun's zenith is closer to the horizon. In short, winter is coming.
Nature Adventure
And this place will change. Some animals will leave -- the once ubiquitous robins are already thinning. Some will go dormant like the trees, and sleep the cold and snow away underground. Some will die.
Nature Adventure
Those animals that remain -- the skunks, foxes, raccoons, sparrows, nuthatches, mice, squirrels and so forth must find fuel to maintain their vital heat in a time when the first providers, the plants, have given up their efforts to harvest energy from the sun.
This, of course, is the reason for the squirrel's instinctive foresight to cache extra food.
Nature Adventure
The squirrels mostly ate pine cones from the tops of the pine trees today. Rusty posed for a few pictures.

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2010:09:09
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Rusty pictures.
There wasn't any natural squirrel activity after I arrived at 9:20 A.M. after this morning's rain stopped, but Rusty found me, so I got some pictures of him.
Nature Adventure

Nature Adventure

Nature Adventure

Nature Adventure

Nature Adventure

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2010:09:03
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Rusty forages buckeye.
Nature Adventure
I arrived at 1320Z (8:20 A.M.), and after a little bit saw two squirrels picking pods from the pea tree, giving the monarch butterflys a ride as the squirrels rustled the branches. But I didn't see either animal eat the beans, they just threw the pods to the ground.
Nature Adventure
Then for awhile, there was no activity. Although I sometimes think of squirrels as busy-bodies, they spend a lot of time resting on branches. I estimate that they only really need to forage for perhaps two to three hours a day to fill their stomachs, which gives them a lot of free time if there are no nuts to cache.
Nature Adventure
At 1423Z, I saw Rusty, who had just scored a Buckeye nut.
Nature Adventure
It's good to see that Rusty's going fine, and that he remembers me.
Nature Adventure
I spend some time trying to get Rusty to pose in the flowers, but this is the best I got. He was more interested in checking out my camera.

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2010:08:26
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Squirrels forage maple.
Nature Adventure
It feels like it's been a long time since I've seen the squirrels. I arrived in the afternoon at 1831Z, but saw no squirrel activity until one walked right by me. His lips were still stained by the black walnut oil.
Had I noticed how long the oil stains, I might have worn gloves when I husked the walnuts for the squirrels, since my hands were stained for days afterward, and some oil got under my nails, which burns. At 1914Z, Barry started eating sugar maple seeds.
Nature Adventure
I saw one of the two (I believe) young squirrels born this spring. At 1930Z, Barry switched to Scotch pine, and the young squirrel went to eat crab apples.
Nature Adventure
After a little while, Barry went to bury something (he wouldn't let me get close enough to see what it was), then pancaked on a willow at 1930Z. Except for Barry moving to a different tree at 2304Z, I saw no other squirrel activity.
Nature Adventure
The first signs of fall are slowly creeping into the maples. Some authors assert that squirrel activity is governed by photoperiod, and that in fall the shortening days prompt squirrels to be more active. I tend to think activity is governed more by how much work there is to do. If the black walnut trees had nuts, the squirrel would probably be out later collecting them, but since there's not much to do now except fill their stomach, the fox squirrel activity is once again low.
I said earlier this would be a hard winter for the squirrels, but for now there's plenty of maple, apple, and pine cones to go around, and the supply should last into next year. Although there wasn't much squirrel activity, the flowers are in bloom, and the insects that feed on them are out. Monarchs have been stopping by on their way down south.
Nature Adventure

Nature Adventure

Nature Adventure

Nature Adventure
It's been a long time since I've seen roadkill, but I must report one on 6th street today. I can't say who.

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2010:08:19 , 2009:10:12
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Squirrel forage walnut.
When I arrived at 1211Z (7:11 A.M.), I noticed a squirrel heading off over the small stream to the black walnut trees. When I got to the walnut trees at 1233Z, two squirrels were in the walnut trees, but the squirrel left at 1237Z. I watched the remain squirrel take eight minutes, six seconds to eat a walnut.
Nature Adventure
When his search for a second walnut turned up nothing, he left at 1302Z heading north. I didn't recognize either squirrel.
I made a quick round of the garden and noticed one squirrel caching a nut at 1317Z. At 1321Z, I left, seeing no other activity.
Nature Adventure
Squirrel eating walnuts in mid-October 2009
Last year, the black walnut crop was substantially larger. It lasted for at least 57 days after this time last year. But this year, with few exceptions, every nut has been collected, so the squirrels must turn to the other crops: apple, maple, and pine nuts, two months earlier than last year. With a poor walnut crop and almost no acorn crop, this winter will be especially hard.
Nature Adventure
Remnants of the exhausted walnuts.

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2010:08:16
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
No squirrel activity.
Nature Adventure

Today the weather was a little cooler than lately. When I arrived at the Walnut trees at 1348Z (8:48 A.M.), I noticed no activity. The squirrels seem to have been eating a few of the buckeye nuts nearby the walnuts, since I saw some husks.
In making a round, I noticed squirrels at 1414Z and 1416Z, who I probably frightened from their resting spots. At 1422Z, when I left there were still no squirrels at the walnut trees.
It's often hard to predict squirrel activity. They probably came out earlier and were in their siesta when I arrived, or perhaps they snoozed through the whole cool morning. This is the problem with seeing the squirrel in little snapshots.

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2010:08:12 , 2010:08:11
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Squirrels forage black walnut.
Nature Adventure
When I arrived in the garden at 1221Z (7:21 A.M.), I saw Charlie, who seemed to have just woken up. His mouth was stained with black walnut oil, so I have some idea of what he's been up to. At 1229Z Charlie climbed up into a Scotch pine.
I then proceeded to the black walnut trees.
Nature Adventure
In total there are six trees, all fairly close together, but three of those six are the favorites, for whatever reason.
If you're a squirrel, these rather unassuming trees are the place to be.
Nature Adventure

Nature Adventure
When I arrived at 1237Z, five squirrels were eating walnuts, although I scared two away. The squirrels continued picking and eating walnuts until about 1400Z.
Nature Adventure

Nature Adventure
At this time, with breakfast out of the way, they began carrying the walnuts off, one at a time. Unfortunately, in these quick trips, I couldn't identify the squirrels, but I'm sure Charlie and the others were among them, taking the nuts all the way back several hundred meters to the flower garden to bury.
Nature Adventure
The fox squirrel, I think more comfortable on the ground than the gray or red squirrel, travels with a slow average speed (probably the speed of a slow human walk) because every few hops they stop to look around.
Although last year, the squirrels seldom carried the walnuts away with the husk, today many squirrel carried the husked walnuts away. Part of the reason may be to limit confrontations with other squirrels, the squirrels husk the walnuts some distance from the walnut trees. I left at 1500Z while the squirrel train was still in progress.

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2010:08:06 , 2010:08:07
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Black Walnuts and Skunk
When I arrived in the garden at 1320Z (8:20 A.M.), I went straight for the grove of five Black Walnut trees, where I noticed Barry and a stranger, probably from the arboretum where few people go. They were working on eating Black Walnuts.
The squirrels have been eating the Walnuts from a tree near my apartment for several days now, and the ones at McCrory garden probably have as well.
Nature Adventure
Barry's mouth was stained with a clown's smile from the Walnut oil, which by the way, you can make ink or stain out of.
Why was he getting so much on his face?
Nature Adventure
Which the squirrel have to remove.
Nature Adventure
Before they can begin the scritch scritch scritch of opening the walnut.
It can take the squirrel up to fifteen minutes to eat a nut, although it usually takes them about five minutes.
While I watched Barry, some of the fox squirrel in surrounding trees alarmed at me. Although there's some noise, here's a recording of the fox squirrel alarm.
../pics/Fox%20...el%20Alarm.mp 3
Barry didn't pay any attention. I can't help wounder if, like Prairie Dogs, fox squirrels have descriptive alarms, and Barry ignored it because he knew the alarm for human wasn't worth paying attention to. Either that, or nothing worries Barry.
Nature Adventure
Uncharacteristic for the fox squirrel, Barry carried a black walnut away in the husk. The squirrel almost always remove the husk before carrying the walnuts away to cache. Although they will sometimes remove two from a tree, when they get to a cleaning perch, the squirrels focus on one nut. I've never seen one carry two walnuts to cache.
And the fox squirrels cache a small percentage (<30% by my estimate) of the crop. More so than the gray squirrel, the fox squirrel's strategy is to store winter reserves in fat. Unfortunately, the Walnut crop is smaller this year than last.
I left at 1440Z (9:40 A.M.) while the squirrels were still working on the walnuts. I returned at 0000Z (7:00 P.M.) to see if the squirrel were still active. One of two in the trees was until 0020Z (7:20 P.M.) when both rested until I left at 0115Z.
I had noticed several dozen small holes by a large silver maple when I cam earlier. I was surprised since I don't know of anything the squirrel would be digging up in this area, but in the evening
Nature Adventure
I noticed the culprit.
Nature Adventure

Skunk seemed really focused on what he was doing, and didn't seem to notice me.
Nature Adventure

Until Skunk caught my scent and lumbered off. I didn't chase. It seemed to me that might have been a bad idea.
The bugs were still bad, but I wore thick enough clothing that they couldn't bite through as easily.

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2010:08:03
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Mosquitoes
I arrived at 1230Z, 7:30 A.M., and noticed Barry eating scotch pine. I trekked to the Black Walnut trees, and noticed a squirrel eating the nuts.
Nature Adventure
But the mosquitoes were worse than before. I'm sorry, but after dozens of bites, at 8:00 A.M., I left.
At least they're mostly the small kind of mosquito. I can't imagine a deer trying to sleep out here.

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2010:07:25 , 2010:07:24
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Klug and Barry forage.
Nature Adventure
I arrived at 1020Z, 5:20 A.M.. It was barely light enough to see, but I saw no mammal activity except rabbits until 1103Z (6:03 A.M.) when Barry woke up.
Nature Adventure

Nature Adventure
A thunderstorm on Friday night, with winds gusts over 65 miles per hour toppled some trees and, like a tree trimming maniac, covered the ground with branches. Here Barry is checking out a fallen maple.
At 1123Z, Barry foraged for hawthorn berries (Crataegus arnoldiana). At 1157Z, I saw Klug in a River Birch (Betula nigra). He then took a drink from a stream, and
Nature Adventure
started eating the flowers. Naughty Klug, that's think kind of thing that will get squirrels in trouble with the gardeners.
Nature Adventure
This is a time of plenty for the squirrels, and life will keep getting better as the walnuts ripen in a few weeks, around the end of August.
When I left at 1400Z, I noticed only one squirrel active, eating scotch pine.

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2010:07:24
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Young Skunks
Nature Adventure

I arrived at about 1130Z (6:30 A.M.) and the squirrels were already working high in the scotch pines and worked until I left at 1330Z (8:30 A.M.). I didn't see any activity in the Ponderosa pines.
But when I first arrived, I noticed three young skunks. I hid for a bit while I prepared my camera and tripod, and when I slowly returned, I saw one skunk climbing into a rock pile, where the skunk disappeared from sight. I've suspected for some time that skunks live in the garden, but I though they lived farther north of the flower garden -- but these three hid right in the middle. It seems surprising that they may have been living in the rocks for awhile, but I haven't noticed.

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2010:07:19
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Squirrels forage ponderosa pine
I arrived at 5:55 A.M. and noticed no squirrel activity. At 1100Z (6:00 A.M.), I noticed Barry, who had probably just woken up, climb down from a tree and head over to the Ponderosa pine trees.
Nature Adventure
Shortly after, I noticed squirrels in the scotch pine trees as well. When the squirrels are eating high in the pines, sometimes the only indication that they are there is the soft clicking as they eat a cone and small pieces of pine cones falling from the trees. I estimate there were about three in the scotch pines and two in the Ponderosa pine trees, so now their activity doesn't seem to show as strong of a preference for the larger ponderosa pine cones.
Until the squirrels come down to the lower branches, there's not much I can do photographically. It's of course not practical now, but someday if I could get up in a tall tree, a wide-angle picture with the squirrel and the view would be neat.
Nature Adventure
But I guess squirrels aren't the only natural wonders.
Nature Adventure
Nature's toolkit is so different than ours. Nature's tools work in the invisibly small chemical world, preforming simple processes uncountable times over and over.
Nature Adventure
Producing intricate fractal structures such as these in the Purple coneflower.
Nature Adventure
Which make up organisms, then groups of organisms that exist in complex ecosystems.
Nature Adventure
The curves and complex surfaces clash with our Euclidean human creations, built from foreign tools such as cross-cut saws and nails, concrete and re-bar.

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2010:07:17
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Squirrels forage ponderosa pine.
Nature Adventure
I arrived at 6:00 A.M. and at 1105Z (6:05 A.M.) in the early morning light, I noticed three squirrels working high in the Ponderosa pine trees: Kruie, Rusty, and another male.
Nature Adventure

Kruie left when I arrived, but for the other two, I marked when they began and finished peeling Ponderosa pine cones:
Rusty:
Start: 1118:35Z Finish: 1127:18Z Elapsed: 8:43
Start: 1129:00Z Finish: 1136:35Z Elapsed: 7:35
Other Male:
Start: 1121:28Z Finish: 1129:27Z Elapsed: 7:59
Start: 1129:48Z Finish: 1133:26Z Elapsed: 3:38
Start: 1154:09Z Finish: 1159:57Z Elapsed: 5:48
Average: 7:45
Nature Adventure
At about 1215Z (7:15 A.M.), activity began waning in the Ponderosa pines, and elsewhere I noticed Klug, who alarmed at me as I approached from a distance.
Nature Adventure
He came down a popular that is probably his nest tree and immediately went to colorful containers that were setting on top of the garbage bin.
Nature Adventure
Unfortunately, whoever left these blizzards hadn't been very considerate to the squirrels,
Nature Adventure
And even after tearing the cups apart, Klug was left with little more than a chocolatey brown nose.
Nature Adventure
I tried to mass Klug, but he wasn't very cooperative, so instead, I went to check on the Ponersoa pines where I only saw one squirrel resting. When I came back to see Klug, he was high in a Scotch pine eating pine cones at 1316Z (8:16 A.M.) -- late it seems, for a fox squirrel.

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2010:07:08
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Ponderosa Pine
Nature Adventure
Kruie and Rusty (I think, he never came down the tree) went to work before 1130Z (6:30 A.M.) on their current project, pulling cones from a line of thirty nine Ponderosa pine. As they worked, pieces sprinkled down through the branches forming small piles below their favorite feeding spots.
Nature Adventure
But while the squirrel's were beyond the reach of convenient photography, there were other animals that I had less trouble getting close to.
Nature Adventure
Less agreeable animals.
The high mosquito density this year, I suppose, would be normal for somewhere wetter, but they make it difficult to stand still for very long.
Nature Adventure

Nature Adventure
Since each time I checked the squirrels were high in the pines, I followed a little rabbit for awhile, then left.
I'm happy to have seen the squirrels, even if I didn't get many pictures. Perhaps when the cones from the tops of the trees are exhausted, the squirrels will work on the lower cones and I'll be able to get some quality pictures.

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2010:07:05 , 2010:07:04
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Squirrels eat Ponderosa pine; Walnuts not ripe
Nature Adventure
When I arrived in the evening, I scared Kruie from the Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa scopulorum). Signs indicate the the squirrels have eaten several dozen of the green pine cones, and a few of the Scotch pine pine cones.
Nature Adventure
And the squirrel's have only tasted a few Black Walnuts -- they must not be very good yet.
Nature Adventure
I didn't see any other squirrels that evening, but saw a few young cottontails who were busy with supper.
Nature Adventure

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2010:06:28 , 2010:06:30
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Squirrels forage mulberry.
Nature Adventure
I arrived at 1153Z and as 1200Z, scared a female from the Mulberry tree. She looks enough like Kruie from Februrary that that's who I'm going to assume she is.
Nature Adventure
In in attempt to guard against the swarms to mosquitoes, I used some DEET containing repellent. At 1237Z, I startled Klug who was sitting on top of a garbage can. I think the smell of the repellent startled him most, and he alarmed at me for about five minutes loudly, then began just grunting softly, as he kept an eye on me from a tree branch. It took 34 minutes before I saw him come down the tree,
Nature Adventure
to fishing off the caper he had planned earlier; diving for a cracker.

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2010:06:28 , 2010:06:27
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Charlie forages.
The maples are producing seeds, the crab-apples are getting ripe, the honey-locust have green seed pods, some of the green pine cones are slowly turning brown, and the black walnut trees have small green pods. Soon will be a time of plenty for the squirrels.
Nature Adventure
The Bur oaks, however, have almost no young acorns; it looks like another meager year for the oak trees.
The weather has recently been hot and humid, as though the air is storing energy for the nearly daily thunderstorms. Mosquitoes were especially bad when I arrived at 1144Z (6:44 A.M.). When I arrived I noticed a timid female squirrel in the Mulberry tree, who might have been Kruire, but I don't know. She left shortly after I arrived.
Nature Adventure
At 1303Z, Charlie alarmed at me as I approached him from a distance. When I got closer, he came down the tree.
Nature Adventure
And Charlie begin eating some plant I didn't recognize (chokecherry?).
Nature Adventure
At 1329Z, I lost Charlie in the pine trees. The mosquitoes didn't seem to bother Charlie very much.

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2010:06:22
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Squirrels forage mulberry.
Nature Adventure
I arrived early. At 1207Z (7:07 A.M.), I noticed Rusty eating crab apples, but at 1225Z he went to a Bur Oak to look for food. Finding nothing, he proceeded to the mulberry (Morus rubra), where he arrived at 1235Z to join the robins and starlings who were already enjoying mulberries. Surprisingly, no other squirrels joined Rusty. At 1328Z (8:28 A.M.) he left the mulberry tree to hide in a shady thicket.

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2010:06:18
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Rusty rests in the afternoon.
It's been twenty days since I visited the garden, and I'm surprised how much thicker the understory and canopy has grown.
Nature Adventure
The Scotch pines have produced little green pine cones. The Red, Amur, and some Sugar maples have new seed pods, although some seed pods are empty. The apple trees have small apples, and a few mulberries are ripening in the sun.
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I first saw Rusty at about 2130Z (4:30 P.M.). He wasn't doing anything in particular. He sat in a tree branch, watching the world go by for an hour and a half (until 2330Z), then came down to grab a walnut he must have stashed previously, and went back up to rest on a branch until I left at 0000Z (7:00 P.M.). I only saw one or two other squirrels briefly.
As better quality food becomes available, the squirrels probably don't need to spend as much time foraging, so they are less active. Either that or they are active closer to sunset (0215Z) or in the morning.

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2010:05:31
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Penny forages in a silver maple.
Nature Adventure

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The daiseys are in full bloom, and the bees are busy, but I saw very little squirrel activity. Perhaps they are more active before I arrive or in the evening.
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The squirrel I did see, however, was one I hadn't seen in a long time. I noticed Penny foraging for the fallen seeds of the silver maple. After a little bit she scampered off. I wonder where she's been all this time.
Nature Adventure

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2010:05:29
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Fox squirrel in a silver maple.
Nature Adventure
Today, I noticed little squirrel activity in the morning. Eventually, I noticed Charlie resting in a silver maple (Acer saccharinum) outside the display garden. It's one of the few maples that is producing spring seeds.
Nature Adventure

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2010:05:19 , 2010:05:24
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Rusty forages.
Nature Adventure
I arrived at 1219Z (7:19 A.M), and first noticed Rusty at 1319Z (8:19 A.M.) heading over to the Freeman maple (Acer x freemanii), a silver and red maple hybrid. I decided to follow Rusty.
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Like the seeds of the red maple (Acer rubrum), the seeds of the Freeman maple are similarly Christmas themed.
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At 1336Z, Rusty moved on to scent mark a birch, forage in a bur oak, eat some immature mulberries, then chew on some willow branches.
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Rusty ran up and down the willow.
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Then he went over to play with the wood pieces in his rotting stump toy
He did some maintenance on a nest in a Chinese Willow (Salix matsudana),
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Dug up some Ginko saplings (or some other young plant).
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And ate the roots.
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Rested for four minutes,
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then headed off to another mulberry, a choke cherry, and then an American Elm (Ulmus americana). Unfortunately, at 1454Z (9:54 A.M.) I lost Rusty in a hectare of thicket about 200 m from his nest. While following Rusty, I didn't see any other squirrels.
Nature Adventure
I took a look at the Robin nest from earlier with the unhatched eggs and it was empty. Egg shells were on the ground below. I wounder if Robins move their young.
I think the two male babies found 2010MAY03 were Bobby's young. One young was found dead, the other, named Tucker, was raised in captivity until he died 2010MAY08, presumabily from the effects of trauma sustained in the fall. The tree they fell from was about 20 meters from a nest I know was Bobby's -- her initial maternal nest. I last saw Bobby 2010APR27 and noticed roadkill that was probably her 2010APR29. Her death would explain why the young fell from their nest, and no squirrel recovered them.
I noted another roadkill squirrel on 6th street adjacent the garden.
Now that Bobby is gone, and Penny likely gone as well, the six hectra display garden is even more male biased. I haven't seen a female, aside from Bobby, in awhile. If the loss of squirrels, mostly to roadkill, isn't balanced by immigration, the population will decline. Since the display garden isn't isolated, I expect immigration to maintain the population, though.

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2010:05:19
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Not much squirrel activity.
I first noticed two male squirrels active at 1202Z (7:02 A.M.), and first saw Rusty at 1215Z (7:15 A.M.). Rusty headed north and I lost track of him. After a bit, I didn't notice much squirrel activity. I noticed a trap in one of the ground squirrel holes in the display garden, so it seems the gardeners want to keep the display garden free of Richardson's ground squirrels.
Nature Adventure
Although I didn't see any ground squirrels beyond the display garden, paths in the grass around some of the holes indicate activity. At some point I'll have to find out when they are active and get some pictures.
Nature Adventure

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2010:05:13
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Fox squirrels forage on the ground.
Today, I went to see the squirrels in the afternoon.
Nature Adventure
I fist noticed Charlie at 2102Z (4:02 P.M.), and shortly after I saw Rusty. I massed Rusty, and tried to mass Charlie, but he's still shy and wouldn't step on the scale.
Rusty's Mass (Time: 2010MAY13 2118Z): 722 ± 5 g. The two squirrels foraged in an Elm, then Rusty took a few maple seeds from a Freeman maple (Acer x freemanii) and turned into a nest in the pines at 2205Z (5:05 P.M.).
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Nature Adventure

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2010:05:11 , 2010:05:10
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Fox squirrels forage greens.
I went to see the squirrels in the afternoon today, and didn't notice any activity until about 1940Z (2:40 P.M.). Rusty and Klug started eating the flowers of a Hawthorn, and later at about 2100Z, the small pea-like seeds of a Elm. I saw Charlie passing through a few times. At 2206Z (5:06 P.M.), Klug turned in to his old nest in the willow, although Charlie and Rusty stayed out a little longer.
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Rusty's Mass (Time: 2010MAY11 2037Z): 718 ± 5 g
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Although chilly, it's still spring. The rabbits seemed to be enjoying themselves in the early evening romping around as a pack.
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Some Robin (Turdus migratorius) eggs have hatched.
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Other Robin mothers are still waiting.

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2010:05:03
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Squirrels forage catkins, two pups fell from tree.
Nature Adventure

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The most popular food source seems to be Oak catkins, but I also saw squirrels foraging in Buckeye. I noticed Barry, Vexil, and Klug foraging in the oaks.
Nature Adventure
But while walking, I heard a young squirrel's distress call. Apparently two young male fox squirrels fell from a Colorado Blue Spruce (Picea pungens), about ten meters from Bobby's old nest tree. One squirrel was dead. I waited for about half an hour to see if the mother would return, but no squirrel did.
Young Male Squirrel's Mass (dead): 102 ± 2 g
Other Young Male Squirrel's Mass: 114 ± 2 g
The one that was alive was crying and had blood coming from his head.
Location: South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date: 2010MAY04
I did a quick check in a radius around the area I found the pups, and noticed only Rusty. I also didn't see any new pups where I had found the others.

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2010:04:29
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Squirrels forage catkins.
Nature Adventure
Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa) catkins -- the drab male flowers of an oak tree.
I arrived at 1430Z (9:30 A.M.), on an overcast day following early morning rain. The rabbits were active and probably getting ready to find a place to sleep. Robbins had been active for some time, along with the crows, starlings, cardinals, sparrows, nuthatches, and various other birds, but there were no squirrels.
It was not until 1503Z (10:03 A.M.) that I saw the first squirrel active in the display garden and at 1539Z (10:39 A.M.), I saw Rusty foraging Bur Oak catkins.
Rusy's Mass (Time: 2010APR29 1614Z): 745 ± 5 g
Shortly after, it started to sprinkle and Rusty left and all was quite again, except for the birds. Unless I missed them, it looks like all but two squirrels of a dozen or so either slept through the whole morning or had already finished foraging before I arrived.
Some days, activity doesn't seem to have increased very much since winter.
Of course, when and how long to stay active is an optimization problem for the squirrels. Each animal must burn the food it eats to maintain its "vital heat" (metabolism that maintains body temperature). While sleeping the fire burns slowly (basal metabolic rate), but eventually the squirrel has to eat. Leaving the drey has the cost of burning more energy from moving around or keeping warm in cold weather and leaving the drey opens the squirrel up to greater predation risk. So limited activity either means that the squirrel is able to get the food it needs quickly, or that leaving the drey is temporarily not economical. Even though the trees have no fruit or nuts, it seems that the squirrel's mass is increasing on greens.
I noted a dead squirrel on the road near the garden. The squirrel had a white venter, but it was in too bad of shape to even tell sex.
Sorry, no squirrel pictures today.

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2010:04:27
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Rusty and Klug forage.
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Today, I saw Klug, who posed for a few pictures. The squirrel's fur it getting shorter so it's hard to tell them apart (it might be Rusty).
Nature Adventure
Klug's Mass (Time: 2010APR28 1708Z): 733 ± 5 g
Charlie chased Bobby out of this Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa) to forage the Oak catkins. Bobby left but not without shouting some nasty words back at Charlie. I wanted to see which nest Bobby was using, but lost track of her.
There is still not much for ground squirrel signs where the largest concentration was last year.
Nature Adventure
Also on my round I noticed a paralyzed rabbit who was unable to move its back legs. It had an injury on its back. I didn't know what to do, so I let the rabbit be.

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2010:04:22
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Bobby finds a baby rabbit.
Nature Adventure
Spring is progressing nicely, and some of the fruit trees have flowers.
At 1400Z (09:00 A.M.) I saw no squirrel activity but noticed a young cottontail rabbit (Sylvilagus floridanus). I've never seen such a young rabbit so I assumed the rabbit must have gotten lost.
I knew that over winter, a nearby juniper bush had a large number of rabbit prints leading to it, so though about placing the young rabbit at the entrance of the juniper bush, but I don't know much about rabbits, so I didn't know how other rabbits would regard the baby, and I decided to just keep an eye on the rabbit.
At 1400Z (09:00 A.M.) I saw no squirrel activity but noticed a young cottontail rabbit (Sylvilagus floridanus). I've never seen such a young rabbit so I assumed the rabbit must have gotten lost.
Nature Adventure
After I returned to the young cottontail, Bobby showed up.
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She seemed curious about the young cottontail, but approached with caution.
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Although blind, the little rabbit ran after Bobby, perhaps hoping Bobby was the mother rabbit, but Bobby was frightened by the baby's approach and ran away.
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I massed Bobby, and the cottontail showed up, perhaps attracted by the noises Bobby made as she walked around. Bobby, even though she probably has two young of her own, still wasn't sure what to make of this tiny thing, and quickly jumped back if the little rabbit made any movements.
Bobby's Mass (Time: 2010APR22 1537Z): 846 ± 5 g
Rabbit's Mass (Time: 2010APR22 1538Z): 069 ± 2 g
Nature Adventure
I made a round of the large ground squirrel group and noticed what may be indications of fresh excavation, but didn't sight any ground squirrels.
When I came back to where the young rabbit was, I couldn't find the rabbit, but I did find what was probably the young rabbit's den. I looked for awhile for the rabbit, intending to put the rabbit back into the den, but couldn't find the rabbit. At least the rabbit is well concealed, and I last spotted the baby only a few meters from the nest. Hopefully the baby will find its mother.
Nature Adventure

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2010:04:15
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Rusty forages on the ground.
I just stopped by briefly, to see if squirrel activity had changed much. I saw Klug, Charlie, and Rusty active in the early afternoon. I also saw four unknown squirrel in the north arboretum. The large ground squirrel colony shows no sign of emergence, a full two weeks after the first ground squirrel emerged. I don't know why.
I would like to record a fox squirrel alarm call, but even in the arboretum, where the squirrels see fewer people, no fox squirrel alarmed at me. I may try to induce alarm by playing a recording of a fox squirrel alarm.
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Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2010:03:23 , 2010:04:13
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Rusty forages on the ground.
Nature Adventure
The furled leaves are starting to break open their buds, so soon the canopy will fill in.
I saw Rusty, Vexil, and Klug today. I followed Rusty for a bit. He spent the whole time searching and sniffing though the leaf litter, mulch, and discarded pine cones for something that might have fallen from a tree
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something dropped
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or anything at all edible.
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But with each passing day, the number of squirrel-hours spent searching each place increases and so success with each additional hour decreases. Rusty was still able to find a few maple seeds, a pine cone, and several other items I couldn't identify.
In other places, the squirrels would be finding mushrooms this time of year, but I've yet to see any in the garden.
The large ground squirrel group is still hibernating, from my quick assessment. It seems odd that they're still hibernating, even though the grass is beginning to grow and the weather is warm.

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2010:04:08
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Squirrels forage buds, maple sap, and ground items.
Nature Adventure
When Rusty approached Bobby, the normally subordinate Bobby chased Rusty away, and said what I'd guess were some very nasty things to him.
Nature Adventure
Rusty meandered back, and Bobby stood like a statue and watched Rusty intently. When Rusty could no longer see her, she hurried up her nest tree at 1505Z (10:05 A.M.).
The last two times, Bobby only remained outside her nest for a short time. I wounder if there's something in there that she doesn't want to get too far away from.
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It's not that early, Rusty.
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After coming down the tree, Rusty took a few time outs to play around.
I massed Rusty again. Rusty's Mass (Time: 2010APR08 1522Z): 690 ± 5 g
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Then Rusty went on to lick sugar from sap that had flowed from woodpecker bullet-holes. There was frost this morning, and freezing nights followed by warm days cause sugar maple sap to flow faster, so it was a good day for maple sap.
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But Charlie wanted to do the same, resulting in the two squirrels getting too close. Rusty ran away.
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I gave Rusty a walnut, and followed him to see what he would do with it. Rusty began digging a hole at least half a dozen times, but if I stood nearby or approached him, he wouldn't actually bury the walnut. I don't think he was frightened by me. I almost think he didn't want me to see where he put it.
Nature Adventure

Location:
USA, South Dakota, Brookings, McCrory Gardens
Date:
2010:04:01
Observer:
Hannah Leitheiser
Summary:
Fox squirrels forage buds and maple.
All the snow has melted, and surprisingly none tried to come back. Buds, grass, and shoots are sprouting, and it's beginning to feel like spring.
Nature Adventure
The Scotch pine trees clicked every few seconds as their pine cones opened for the first time.
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But finding very little squirrel activity in the morning, I walked through the northern area where the Walnut trees and larger ground squirrel group are, and noticed Klug meandering around the trees. He seemed keen on scent marking as many trees as he could. Perhaps one of the dozens of dreys in the trees is his.
On my way back I saw a flicker-tail out of the corner of my eye, and heard him/her alarm at me. So, at least one has dug out. The larger group's holes are still plugged or covered in leaves and other debris, so I think this is the only one currently active.
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When I returned, I noticed Bobby at about 1500Z (10:00 A.M. CDT) near her nest tree, so assume she had recently woke up. She went to forage willow catkins nearby her tree, then she came to me and I massed her.
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Bobby's Mass (Time: 2010APR01 1522Z): 829 ± 5 g
Shortly after at 1545Z (10:45 A.M. CDT), she went back up to her nest, and I did not see her again.
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Charlie was working on the sugar maples again. The trees aren't producing much sap anymore, though, so there's not much sugar left. The weather's become too warm to fast, resulting in a short sugaring season.
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Charile decided to take a time-out from his efforts.
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I noticed Vexil running around, and of course, Rusty, who was foraging for pine cones. I wanted to take a lot of Rusty pictures, but he foraged in an area that was hard for me to get to. Nonetheless, it's good to see that Rusty's doing fine.
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