Friday, December 10, 2010

California ground squirrel
Otospermophilus beecheyi

Aka Jabba the Hutt, aka Fatty. I thought this individual was disgustingly fat back in August. Little did I know then that it would obtain even wider proportions. It still stares at us through the office window for hours on end, every day, rain or shine. It's disturbing! I'm surprised the hawks haven't picked it up, yet. Surely, it can't move that fast - I can only assume since I haven't actually witnessed it move besides turning on occasion to look at the ocean. For a nice video description of more active CA ground squirrels, check out this Nature Bytes video.

Townsend's warbler ~ 12/10/10 ~ at home

Well, she's not as striking as her boyfriend, but he's off chasing a flashy goldfinch. For me, these bird pictures are not too shabby. I really enjoy watching the Townsend's search through the Douglas fir tree next to our balcony for food. Insects? I don't know. Sometimes they hover like a hummingbird and pick at the tree, which I've learned is called hover-gleaning. I'm amazed at how many birds and insects use this coast Douglas-fir tree. It helps that our balcony is 3 stories up, so I'm able to get an eye-level view of the top of the tree to witness all the action.

I'd like to add that the Townsend's warbler is not mentioned at all in a recently-purchased CA bird guide book, which shall remain nameless until I get a better handle on whether it's a decent bird book or not. I bought it because it was the same style that my mother-in-law uses up in WA. At $20-30 a pop, I've been disappointed with my field guide purchases lately.