Thursday, September 25, 2008

My Staredown With A Squirrel

I was walking through Woodland Hills on another everyday adventure, and I was experimenting a little bit with my camera. I talked some about that yesterday. Anyway, the leaves have started to fall, and you can see them all over the trail. I noticed that the colors are just beginning to go from green to shades of orange and red. The forest was alive with the sounds of animal activity.

Something I haven't mentioned here yet is the smells of the forest. When you pass by certain trees, you can smell something very pleasant coming from them. Each kind of tree has it's own unique smell. Those smells can do so many things for you. For me, the smell on this day brought back thoughts of my childhood, and the fun I had exploring the forests where I lived then. Those times were and are some of my fondest memories, and maybe the best times of my entire life. Just another benefit of being an everyday adventurer.

As I was hearing all the animals, I was thinking I should be ready to get pictures of as many of them as I could. That's partly what I was there for, wasn't it? I heard the animals and saw some of the trees shaking with their activity, but I wasn't seeing much of anything. They were evading me as good as they usually do.

Then, off to the left, I saw a squirrel. I got my camera pointed in the right direction and took the pictures, but it was just too far away, and there were too many trees in the way. You can see in the pictures that there is something there, but it's unidentifiable unless I point it out. It was a good effort and I started off again, hoping my luck would get better. You would think a little squirrel would be easy. I mean, they're everywhere in our neighborhoods, but when I get out my camera they are at least as camera shy as some people I know.

As I got a ways further down the trail I saw an even better chance. There was a squirrel playing around at the base of a big tree. This time I had my camera ready. It saw me, even though I wasn't that close, but it was too late. I raised the camera and got the pictures, as it scampered up the tree. Only then did I realize that my camera's settings were wrong because of my experimenting. So I missed some great pictures of the squirrel running up the side of the tree.

I quickly set the camera right as I thought I lost the little guy. But there he was, perched about thirty or forty feet up, on a small branch in the tree.

He thought he got away, but I was slowly moving in closer, and I started taking pictures with the camera zoomed in to where I could see him. He of course looked a little agitated by my presence, but that wasn't going to stop me. I came to get a picture of him, and that's just what I was going to do. Why does it have to be so hard to get simple little pictures of a squirrel? Besides, even if I was a threat to him, he was safe on his perch, high up off the ground.

As I was taking the pictures, I noticed his tail wasn't bushy like I expected. Was there something wrong with him? It was a squirrel wasn't it? Later that day, I showed the pictures to my mother, and she implied that it was a normal thing. She is pretty intelligent, and knows a lot of general information, so I respected what she thought. She mentioned something about a bushy tail on a squirrel means the winter will be hard.

Back to the forest. The squirrel was on his perch, and I was happily taking pictures of him. This was only a matter of seconds. As he got settled, he noticed I was still there. He turned and stared directly at me. He must have been thinking I was the scariest monster he had ever seen. I have several pictures of him staring at me like this! He was not a happy creature. I don't understand the big problem. As I said before, he was up there pretty far, and perfectly safe from me. Maybe he didn't want his picture taken.

Well, he looked at me like that for what must have been over a minute, maybe two. Come on little guy. I only want to steal your soul with my evil clicking, soul taking device. Maybe he actually thought something just like that. Whatever he thought, he was not happy with me. I was beginning to think, if he were brave enough, he might just jump down on me in an attempt to fight back.

Just as I thought maybe I should move away and look for other things, he decided the same thing for himself. He turned and moved up his little branch in an attempt to distract me. He did it wrong, because he didn't have very far to go.

This time he was perched at the very end of the branch. He was still very aware of my presence, and wasn't shy about showing it. I still didn't understand his fear, and besides, I didn't have anywhere to go myself. Nothing I could have done would have relieved his fear, so I kept taking pictures. I actually was as far from the tree as he was high. I would have moved closer if he hadn't been so clearly and visibly frightened.

Finally, he came to his senses and turned around, and scampered down and around the tree, and out of my sight forever. I had my pictures, and he regained his sense of freedom. Maybe he continued to watch me from a now hidden place, but I'll never know.

The encounter with the squirrel now over, I happily resumed my journey, and wondered what was next for The Everyday Adventurer.


  1. They are cheeky. You got some good shots.

    I'll have to post my rodent adventures soon. I had a run in with a herd of chipmunks and a red squirrel the other day. They just didn't like me in their woods..

  2. I still don't understand what it was so offended about. I've noticed over the years that some squirrels are just plain ornery.

    A story about a herd of chipmunks would be pretty cool.