This post is a compilation of a few funny incidents on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I was lucky enough to be at the right place, at the right time, to take pictures of a little mischief by our furry friends … and, then I had an “oops” myself, as you’ll read later on.
Grady the gray squirrel from the ‘hood.
Well, what do you know – I was able to grab a few shots of the elusive Grady. I went to the front door to see if it was light out yet, and there was Grady, timid soul that he is, waiting on the porch for his morning treat. He didn’t even scamper away when I opened up the inside door and peered out the glass. I put my finger up, (as if he understood “wait a minute”), and then I scurried down the hall to grab my camera. I was bound and determined I would get some pictures of this little guy who shows up, grabs his peanuts to go and never leaves any shells. I tossed out about eight peanuts and he zoomed right over to grab one and headed off to the city property where he promptly dug a hole and buried that peanut.
Then he came back for another one, stealthily up the steps, looking up at me once, but he figured I wasn’t going to harm him, so he grabbed another peanut before disappearing down the steps again.
This time he ran next door and next thing I knew, his front paws were digging furiously over there. Well, it’s his call whether to eat ‘em or bury ‘em I guess. He’s rather apprehensive, but he sure is cute.
I took a lot of pictures through the glass in the screen door and luckily it was a gray day so there was no reflection. It appears that Grady has got this “grab-and-go” routine down to an art. When the last peanut was gone, so was he.
An update on the Council Point Park feast.
Meanwhile, on the picnic table down at Council Point Park, it is slim pickin’s since I laid out all their loot and goodies ten days ago. Seeds are strewn everywhere – the picnic tables and concrete floor are covered.
At first, the procession to dine was orderly … a nibble here, a nibble there. Then the squirrels began to wreak havoc with the set-up … the seed bells were knocked over on their sides, the Liberty Bell ended up on the floor, yielding a treasure trove of mixed seeds everywhere as it bounced onto the hard floor. When I arrived Christmas Eve morning, one of the chunks of seed bars was on the floor – the other chunk was missing. The two sunflower seed bells were half depleted and swimming in a sea of black oiler seed shells. All that is left in the foil pan now is spent sunflower seeds and all the white safflower seeds. This is because the squirrels gorged themselves on what they liked the most.
So I moseyed along … after all there were other hungry squirrels to feed who likely hadn’t monopolized the seed treats.
On Christmas morning I arrived and saw squirrel activity on the top of the table, so I meandered over to investigate.
Aim high or go home.
It is the Christmas season and isn’t this the time for sharing the love, and the gifts?
I saw an enterprising squirrel take off with the seed bar … first he knocked it on the cement floor of the pavilion where he lost a few chunks off it, but grabbed it and ran like the wind. Off he went lugging this seed bar, which was admittedly a bit cumbersome, but I could imagine him thinking “no worries … I’ll just grab it in my front teeth and haul it up the tree” … well that was an idea that might have worked on paper, but he needed either a helper or to break the bar into smaller pieces. He struggled to figure out how to get it to the top. He put it at the other side of the tree so no passersby might take it and off he went, presumably to grab a friend. Hope he was ready to spring for pizza and pop for any helpers for this big move.
Well, maybe I misinterpreted the holiday a bit, because next was a squirrel running off with the smaller, mostly dilapidated seed bell as fast as his four legs could carry him. Curious, I followed to see where he was going with it. He stopped at the first tree – was this his tree where his nest is located? I glanced up and saw no nest up there, but up he went, clutching the seed bell between his front teeth as he scrambled up the trunk, and ran along a lower branch. I kept watching him, but this time with the camera in hand. He saw me watching him and began climbing higher and higher, and he glared at me at each level he reached, as if it was my fault he had to go through these machinations. You’d think I was going to force him to spit it out for goodness sake! I finally gave up pursuing him with the camera, just about the time he dropped it into the water. I saw the little splash and his face registered disappointment. Well, I kind of saw that coming since the branches of the tree jutted over the Creek embankment. I felt badly for him – he looked at me again and I didn’t know if that meant it was my fault or maybe I’d like to go retrieve that treat for him? All dejected, that squirrel came down the tree head first and peered into the water clearly intent on getting it back. All he saw was his reflection, so he finally gave up, had a drink of water and headed back up his tree.
I walked six miles on Christmas Day and since I drove to the Park, this amounted to three complete trips around the entire Park. So, on my third time around, here we go again, another squirrel running for its life lugging the remaining black sunflower seed bell, and, when he stopped and looked at me, I have to admit he was wearing a really guilty look. I looked at him and said “did I say anything?” Now, my mom would say that you had a guilty conscience and knew you had done something wrong or you wouldn’t have that guilty look on your face. This treat was way too big to handle and obviously he hadn’t a clue what to do with it except to round up the family to finish it on the spot.
I know this squirrel was watching the others pilfer the treats as he had an OMG look on his face.
Then he turned to me as if to say “Linda, do something!”
I’ve included a slideshow of the shenanigans of the three enterprising furry fellows:
Aim high but pay attention.
The entire time my feet are traveling along the perimeter path, my eyes are roving – up, down, left right. It’s important to look down as I don’t want to end up going home with goose poop wedged between the ridges of my walking shoes, but at the same time I don’t want to miss nice shots overhead. I was looking at some seagulls cruising precariously close to my head, hoping that there would be no white splats on my hat when I got home, when I heard a squirrel chattering from high above … he looked at me with a look of disdain for some reason – “what did I do to you I called out to him?” He ran away, so I guess he not be one of the regulars, like here, where you get the pleading eyes and nuzzling up to the shoe to get your attention.
A sudden movement and the rustling of a branch got my attention and I looked up in the air again and there was a heron balanced precariously on a branch … I wondered how in the world I could have missed that heron – was he there a moment before?
Do I need stronger glasses? I still had the camera in my hand so I focused on that heron and snapped his picture. I dared to zoom in on him figuring any moment he’d catch sight of me and take off screaming like a banshee. No, he didn’t see me … in fact he raised one foot … must have had sore feet, and stood there stork like, then planted both feet firmly on the branch gazing onto space, Usually I see herons embedded amongst the dead and weather-beaten trees across the Creek, so the heron, with its pale plumage, blends right in. But this was odd to see a heron up so high on a live tree.
After a dozen or so shots, I looked down and there were a couple more squirrels nuzzling my shoes. OK, I sweet-talked and fed them, then back to walking … walking was definitively taking a hit if I continued with these photo ops. I whirled around to get back on the trail and my gaze met the headlights and grille of Lincoln Park’s finest.
Well that was an OMG moment for sure … I would have liked to see the look on my face, which I’m sure the office captured on his dash cam, when I saw that vehicle. That black SUV filled the entire walking path and I never heard it as I was so intent on getting that heron’s picture, and, for all I know, it might have been there when I was fiddling with the squirrel up in the tree as well. If the LPPD has a blooper roll, I’m sure my wide-eyed look would make it there.
Well, I felt an apology, or at least a chuckle, was in order and I walked toward the driver side, and noted, as I approached, that the officer had already rolled down the window and was smiling. I said “I’m sorry … I guess you know I never saw you!” He say “yup, I knew that – did you get your shot? I saw that heron fly away?” I said “he’s really skittish if he is the same heron I see all the time … he bolts when he sees me.” He laughed at that and I figured since I had the opportunity, I’d ask if there were any more coyote sightings. He said “no” and I said that was good as there had been one on my street as well. Well, I stepped aside so he could be on his way – the police often drive on the perimeter path to check out the Park for any suspicious activity … so, going forward when I aim high, I’ll take a look all around me first!