Monday, November 02, 2009

Black, Gray, Red Squirrels, Lake Ontario Freighter on an Autumn Afternoon : This is Travel?

Squirrels in black, gray and red, a passing freighter on Lake Ontario and a sunny Autumn afternoon don't have a lot to do with travel, though an argument could be made for the freighter: Some Great Lakes boats will take paying passengers from Thunder Bay to Quebec City.  But really, I was so pleased to finally get a picture of a red squirrel, I just had to show you! But first, the black and the gray squirrels:

Gray Squirrel
There are lots of fluffy gray squirrels in Port Credit, especially in the city parks. They're pretty active all year round, burying and digging up peanuts that well meaning but misguided people feed them. Wildlife should be wild; we do them no favor by interfering.

Black Squirrel
Black squirrels, too, are abundant and active year round. Visitors from England were always delighted when they spotted one digging holes in my garden. I was not delighted at all.

Red Squirrel
But this red squirrel is another matter entirely. Red squirrels are not all that common. They move so fast, and they are so much smaller than the black and gray squirrels, that when you do spot one, half the time you cannot tell if it's a red squirrel or a chipmunk.

Red Squirrel - Nest in Tree
This old apple tree has a hollow center, a fact that doesn't prevent it from leafing  out each year, and bearing tiny fruit. It's also a perfect nesting place for squirrels. 

Baby Gray Squirrel in Nest in Tree
Early last spring, this nest was the home of a family of gray squirrels. In fact, I noticed new dried grasses tucked into the hole in this same tree today, which is why I went to have a closer look. The Gray Squirrel family moved out in early summer, and now the red squirrels have moved in.

Red Squirrel Close Up
I had my camera at the ready as soon as I noticed the red squirrel darting about the gardens. I wondered if it was using the same tree for a nest and sure enough, in it went. I focused on the opening, and when the red squirrel poked its head out, I took this picture. Actually I was able to take several pictures, as Red seemed transfixed. This is the longest I have ever seen this squirrel be still.

Old Apple Tree Condo
Something else may have taken up residence in one of the cherry trees in the park. Mississauga once was flush with orchards, and these Gardens are full of old apple and cherry trees.

Lake Ontario Freighter 
On the horizon, this freighter was moving fairly quickly eastward, towards Toronto, and beyond. I include it with the pictures of the squirrels because it's as rare to see a large ship passing by as it is to get a red squirrel to sit still for a photo.

But I didn't stop there. Why be satisfied with a picture of a red squirrel? Why not try for a video? And so I did. Here's the best I could do on the spur of the moment. Keep watch out for the second red squirrel caught on film! And the flash of gray squirrel who gets in their way.

Red Squirrel Romp on YouTube

Related: I took these pictures at Brueckner Rhododendron Gardens.
See Wildlife in Mississauga (City Mississauga) and Great Lakes Cruises to Thunder Bay