Meeting the Neighbors ~ The Comedians

A new friend, perched on a cypress knee and eating a cypress seed

Although I’ve seen both fox squirrels and eastern gray squirrels in my neighborhood, these are part of a trio I suspect to be gray squirrel siblings; their white bellies, smaller size, and white-fringed tail distinguish them from the larger, cinnamon-colored fox squirrels.

While they’re nesting in either a nearby palm or live oak, they play and lounge on a pair of cypress trees visible from my desk. One seems to have a favorite branch, where it grooms itself and naps every afternoon.

A friendly family tussle

Like most squirrels, they’re friendly, amusing, and predictably clever. It’s a good thing I don’t mind them at the feeders, since they found them after only three days.

Recently, I’ve noticed the mat outside my front door lying askew from time to time. When I stepped on it yesterday, I felt something lumpy underfoot. Lifting the mat, I found four acorns tucked beneath it.  Having lived with a pet squirrel who enjoyed storing pecans in my shoes, I have my suspicions about the source of those those acorns.

 

Comments always are welcome.

Carry and Cache

 

There’s little question that these slightly shriveled berries were produced by the plant known as yaupon (Ilex vomitoria), a member of the holly family that’s native throughout the southeast, from Texas to coastal North Carolina.

How they came to be clustered in this hollow — part of a large, decaying tree stump — is hard to say, since there wasn’t an over-hanging yaupon branch to drop its berries into the stump. Even if there were, it seems unlikely that so many would have collected there.

It is food-gathering time, with squirrels burying pecans or collecting and drying fungi, while woodpeckers and bluejays energetically seek out and store acorns. Still, this seems a poor spot for caching food. Perhaps a younger and less experienced critter gave it a try, but decided to find a drier, more secure spot.

On the other hand, Christmas is drawing nigh. Perhaps this is only an optimistic squirrel’s version of cookies and milk. With such tempting berries in the stump, surely Santa Squirrel will pay a visit!

 

Comments always are welcome.