Monday, October 4, 2010

Squirrels of Collier

I’m enjoying watching four different species of squirrels on a daily basis here at Collier Memorial State Park. The Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel shown here has his checks stuffed with Ponderosa Pine cone seeds.  The seeds released from mature cones high in the trees, flutter to the ground looking like miniature helicopters, where they are scarffed up by Golden-mantled Ground Squirrels as well as the smaller Least Chipmunks, and carried off of to be stored in their underground burrows for winter use. Douglas Squirrels use a different approach to harvest.  They operate high up in the Ponderosas, leaping out on the limbs and chewing off tight green cones, which fall to the ground with a sold thud.  Then they scurry down to the ground and carefully pick up the cones one by one and pack them off to a hidden cache for storage. The large tailed Western Gray Squirrels are little more secretive, and so far I’ve only gotten some quick glances as they dash about.  All are a joy to watch as they go about their fall harvest.     

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