Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Cinnamon Squirrel

What are little squirrels made of?
Sugar and spice and everything nice!

Pretty little Cinny is the surviving sibling of poor little Cinnamon who froze to death last January. 

Due to that wispy tail, Cinny is the fastest squirrel around, and is usually seen speeding  across the landscape or zipping up a tree to the highest branch. 

Cinny loves to run! And I love watching Cinny. Or Cinny's tail, that is (which most of the time is all I get to see).



Sunday, April 21, 2013

Looks like it's listed!

As I walked past the marina yesterday, I saw the Mallard Drake hurrying by at top speed, looking like he was gettin' the hell out of Dodge. A strong current was sweeping him along even faster, and he didn't even slow down for a photo op -- I felt lucky to get these:
on his way
 I soon saw why, and can't say that I blame him: there was a huge Canada Goose that must have been three times the mallard's size, combing the Cloud Nine area. One wouldn't want to tangle with that!

grazing the pilings

good eats here...

Sooo.... will we be seeing goslings or ducklings on the raft this year?

To be continued...

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Love it or List it!

The ducks are back! Mr. and Mrs. Mallard were in the area yesterday, surveying the remnants of the old Cloud Nine dock, perhaps looking for a safe harbor to birth their hatchlings.

What the H happened here, anyway?

This would require some renovation... in fact it's a real fixer-upper.
but there's a great view

nice wood floor...
and plenty of water

easy ramp access
ok let's tour the yard!

quite spacious

this piece has got to go

Look Hon, the Cloud Nine raft is still there! We could definitely use that for the kids...

the cloud nine raft

Note: Enter "ducks" in the search box for more stories about the Cloud Nine ducks.

Friday, April 19, 2013

What a Difference a Day Makes

Well, my talking squirrel did not talk at all today, so I have to conclude that she had been talking more out of pain than of pleasure. But today Gray Momma did not have the appearance of being stressed. She ate a lot again, but in a calmer manner, as if she had food security. Her fur and tail looked much better, and her tail was springy.

I'm commited to going there every day now, rain or shine, until she looks fully well.  She has a way to go, but I was encouraged by what I saw today. She's going to be okay!

click to enlarge

hint of a smile?

she still has a bad skin conditon

 PS - Gray Momma has a lot more energy now. She chased a young squirrel all the way to the top of  her tree, then forced the squirrel to jump to another tree. The two then had a stare-down for a while, after which, GM jumped over to the other tree! Then back down to me. I guess the squirrel learned a lesson.

Gray Momma is on tree on the right
Chased squirrel stares back at her from the tree on the left

Staring contest continues. until Gray Momma jumps over!
Chased squirrel knows now that Gray Momma means business

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Talking Squirrel

Gray Momma has appropriated the finest tree around for her babies, and defends it very well. Today I see her sitting outside their den, enjoying the sunshine and 60 degree weather. Such a contrast to the cold weather when we first met!

This once beautiful squirrel looks a bit bedraggled these days. Her beautiful tail has become quite scraggly and her skin condition has not improved and may have worsened. The babies have been wearing her out. I wonder how many there are. 

Gray Momma loves to talk. When she comes down today and she starts talking right away. What she is saying I do not know, but I imagine she's expressing pleasure.

Every once in a while she breaks away to chase some squirrel who is trying to climb her tree --  first they run up the tree then down in a quick scramble that's faster than the eye. After she runs the hapless squirrel off she returns to resume her meal. She's a very watchful parent, and those little babies of hers are very lucky to have her and to have their nice safe nest in that big tree. I hope they are all doing ok. Can't wait to meet them!

Squirrel Talk

Short (less than a minute) 
Long (4 minutes)

So she talks to me and I talk to her. We may not know what we're saying to each other but we do know that we're talking to each other. How intelligent are squirrels? I have recently become even more interested in that question, after observing the mind-boggling intelligence of an eagle family in Florida (via a web cam) this past winter. The bird cams that are proliferating now are life changers. You will never again think about birds the same way after watching them like this. It's why I have always been interested in observing the squirrels up close and personal.

Up to this point there has been little thought given to the idea that during the time that our own intelligence was evolving, animal intelligence was also evolving. When you think about it, it makes sense: if the human animal's intelligence can evolve, why not that of the other animals?

A recent post At the Edge of the Wood  tells us that that according to scientist
 Frans De Waal "A growing body of evidence shows, that we have grossly underestimated both the scope and the scale of animal intelligence".

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

ET Go Home!

Wouldn't that be nice? Just say goodbye, bully!

ET (Evil Twin)
The only problem is,  "home" is the orange tree, which was the home of Red Momma and Alphie and  countless other squirrels before they were all evicted. ET sits over there now, guarding the castle in solitary splendor.

no squirrels allowed!

stay away!
no birds allowed either
It must be pretty lonely. I usually find ET sitting all alone, either by the orange tree or in the cherry trees. The idea of occupying a tree seems to be more of a female than a male quality, but I'm 99% sure that ET is a male. I don't think there are any babies up in that tree!

Yesterday ET smashed into this lovely orange-gray squirrel whose only crime was trying to grab a  peanut from me, and slammed the squirrel against the fence. Ouch!

Then he looked up at me with that innocent I-did-nothing-wrong face, as if to say, give me that peanut! Then he tried to prevent me from feeding Alphie by jumping in between us. No wonder most squirrels keep their distance! This squirrel is a total psychopath.For anyone who remembers, this is Mr. Operator on Steroids.

I used to think Alphie was bullying the other squirrels, and it seemed so out of character with his sweet nature,  and then one day Alphie he got his tail broken (probably in confrontation with ET) and then I realized that it had been his doppelgänger that was the terrorist!

Don't mess with me!

If Red Momma had not been so sick while being pregnant at the time, I don't think another squirrel would have been able to capture her tree. Now that she's better she is quite fierce. It will be interesting to see what happens when she returns. Will she vanquish ET and recapture her tree? Will the orange tree once again spring to life? Will all the squirrels be singing Ding Dong the Witch is Dead???

One Fine Day

Springtime in Peter Cooper Village
click on a picture for more detail