Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Wildlife Where I Live - the Antelope Valley of Southern California

Ruth Sandra Sperling
RSS Designs In Fiber - My Handmade Designs on ARTFIRE and ETSY

I was walking through the field in the picture above yesterday - on my way to various places in my small town in the southeastern Antelope Valley, when I heard this call!!  Not sure what it was -- a bird or some other wild animal, I figured it was warning others that this 2-legged being was walking through their territory!!

On my way back (this field is just to the east of where I live and I walk through it rather frequently) -- I looked and looked at something in the field -- at first I couldn't tell whether it was a bird or a bush -- it was very still and close to the color of the surrounding vegetation in the field.  As I got closer, I could see it better -- it was some kind of squirrel it looked like - standing up very alert and frozen in position, looking to the left of me -- then there was this screech!  Then it moved and jumped down a hole!!

Ah-hah!!  When it moved, I could see it better!!  I was not quite sure what it was -- but a little bit further on at another place to the right of the path I was walking on was another just like it -- or was it the same fellow popping up through another hole????  Another screech and jump down the hole!!

Well -- not being sufficiently trained to identify it, I decided I was going to have to look up something online to see if I could find out anything about some desert squirrel - or something - that might be burrowing in the fields of my little town!!

Well - I found "him" online -- he looked exactly like this picture, which is a picture of a California Ground Squirrel that I found on the Wikipedia page for:  "Ground Squirrel"!!

And there I found this quote:

"The ground squirrel is especially renowned for its tendency to rise up on its hind legs. It does this whenever it senses nearby danger, or when it must see over tall grasses. The squirrel then curls its paws flat against its chest and sends a screeching call to warn other family members about the presence of predators."

I guess they think us people walking through their fields might be predators, though I am really quite friendly to them!!  As there is no fence between this field and my front yard, I am afraid I may have seen "him" or one of his cousins in my front yard occasionally!! 

I actually think they are quite cute!  I guess they may be one of the reasons there are all these holes in these fields -- you have to watch it as you walk through them, particularly if you go off the un-official "paths" through them!!

To quote one of my favorite Folk Singers/Songwriters, Dan Fogelberg, from his song, "The Spirit Trail" (Wild Places Album copyright 1990):

"Let every creature I see
Be a brother and a friend to me"

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