Watching the Day Go By

February 21, 2013

I photographed this gray squirrel on New Year’s day at Shaw Nature Reserve. It must have recently claimed the nesting cavity because it spent most of the morning guarding the entrance and fighting off other house hunters. Every once in awhile it was able to relax in the hole and survey the surrounding Whitmire Wildflower Garden. It was nice to see the squirrel taking it easy between tussles. Although most humans manage to avoid serious brawls throughout their lifetimes, no such luck can be found in the wildlife world. I rarely photograph a squirrel that doesn’t have at least one chunk of its ear missing, especially if it’s a male. Although battles are a natural process in the wildlife world it is easy to recognize the severe stress that these critters experience when combat begins. It is a necessary part of life for wild animals but they sure don’t seem to relish it.

As I was photographing squirrels on that snowy morning at Shaw Nature Reserve, I was reminded of an interesting encounter I had with a squirrel one chilly, spring morning here at the farm. I was sitting under a tree, watching and listening for gobblers, when I heard a shuffle overhead. I knew it was a squirrel because I remembered seeing a nest right above me. As I sat there I felt a pitter-patter on my head followed by a trickle of liquid down the side of my face. I thought, “What the…….?” and looked up just in time to see a furry, squirrel butt hanging off a branch. Yes, you guessed it—the thoughtless critter had risen from its slumber, hopped out of its nest and relieved itself right on my head! You would think I would have been aggravated but I just had to laugh it off. I’m sure no disrespect was intended. πŸ™‚ Ever since that day, I always glance up at the branches above me before I settle in for a hide. I realize that it’s probably not necessary but it’s a habit I can’t shake. We’ve all heard stories of lightning striking twice so you never really know.

Maybe this week’s edition will remind you of some funny experiences you’ve had in the woods and fields. As much time as I spend outdoors, I’m sure I’ll have a few more strange encounters myself. In the meantime, I’ll continue my efforts to keep my head dry.

Thanks for Looking!

DB

Canon 1D Mark IV; Canon 500/4 L IS Lens with Canon 1.4 TC II; 1/160 @ f/8.0; ISO 800; RAW Capture; Gitzo GT3530LS Tripod with Wimberley II Head; Converted and processed in Canon Digital Photo Professional (DPP)

26 comments on “Watching the Day Go By”

  1. Really cool picture! What camera lens do you use?

  2. Great photo. It looks like a snug fit.

  3. You sure that one that peed on your head wasn’t telling you in no uncertain terms “Get away from my tree, human!”?

  4. Hi Danny,

    Love this one–so what are you shooting on this snow day? Wondering if you’re knee deep in Three Graves?

    And congrats to Joyce. She is such a dedicated teacher and needs to be recognized!

    Chris

    • I’ll pass your message on to Joyce. I had already read “Edge of Dark Water” and loved it so I think you should give it a try….great book! I think I’m going to try “Vampires in the Lemon Grove” by Karen Russell as it got a killer review today on NPR. She also wrote “Swamplandia.” I’ll probably download it today on Kindle unless you have a copy your are not using.

  5. Thank you for the story of the pis-respectful squirrel, and this lovely image. I’ve cancelled my walk to Forest Park today, so this was my taste of the outdoors :))

    Deepa.

  6. Danny, got a chuckle of the squirrel in its cozy hole….and even some snow! I did battle with the snow twice already (maybe 8-10″) and I’m sure there will be a round 3 although it’s not doing much at the moment. The birds are really flocking into the bird feeders. 

    • Phil….I was telling somebody this morning, “I bet Phil Jeffries is getting some killer squirrel/snow shots right now!”

  7. Hi Danny, what a cute shot. He looks happy, in his tree house. thanks for sharing. I decided to stay off the road this week, and I am glad I did. Hope you have a good rest of the week.

    Art

  8. I was sitting under a tree once when two squirrels dismantled and pitched a starling nest, and all the contents, to the ground. I heard a commotion but had no idea what was about to happen!

  9. Mr. Squirrel is so cute. Glad you had a great sense of humor that day he peed on you. You just have to love wild life and all it has to offer. Thanks for the story and image.

  10. Danny, looking at the photo again makes me think the squirrel is telling you to take a picture of his good side.

  11. Oh my goodness..being pee’d on by a squirrel…how terrible….I would imagine a shower was in order after that….I have seen squirrels fight in my yard and even on my front porch here in the heart of the city…one day when I came home for lunch there was a squirrel’s tail on my front porch indicating another squirrel fight…it was an awful sight…I am not a fan of squirrels…to me they are a big ‘rat’…but your pictures are great…

    • That must have been some kind of fight! Maybe a dog was involved. Nice to hear from you; I hope you didn’t get to much ice.


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