Squirrel Watching

Faced with a 30 degree drop in temperature and the arrival of a snowstorm, we all turn to our survival checklist. I was headed to the woodshed. Cream Puff, the resident red squirrel anomaly, was busy eating – and burying – sunflower seeds.

The firewood could wait – I had to watch and photograph Cream Puff in action. She had an impressive routine, which she repeated for an hour: grab a bite at the feeders, put a sunflower seed in her mouth, sprint 40 feet, bury the seed, sprint back to the bird feeder, and so on. She moved fast and the light was poor, so I tried my best to “pan” the action, swinging the camera at her pace.

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At one point the snow was so heavy that it overwhelmed my auto focus. It was winter again and the squirrels were fat, happy, and well prepared. On the other hand, I now had to shovel several inches of heavy, wet snow in order to get firewood to the house!

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Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

15 thoughts on “Squirrel Watching

  1. Simply marvelous action shots. My favorite in the sequence is the 3rd from the bottom where she looks like she’s launching like a rocket. Snow here, up in some higher altitudes, seemed to bring out lots of bird life.

    • Thanks Gunta. Yes, things come alive when snow arrives, like night and day around the feeders. I was wondering about the weather in your part of the world. I assume you need a snow pack in the high country to furnish melt-water for streams and groundwater recharge? Supposed to be 65 here on Sunday so the roller coaster winter continues.

      • We’re having some unpleasantly cold nights (at or near freezing), but then the sun comes out in the day and warms up quite a bit. It seems as though we ought to be having more rain, but at least there’s some snow up in the mountains, as documented in my last post. It was a winter wonderland at 2600 ft elev. (Only about a 10 mile drive up into the hills behind the house.) Closer to sea level, in our yard, we had quite an ‘invasion’ of thrushes. Eric tells me there were 3 kinds: Swainsons’, Varied and Robins. I might even do a post of some neat shots I captured.

  2. A wonderful sequence of pictures … one seed at a time, such is the patience required for survival against the time when there are no handy seeds. I am glad you halted a while before collecting the wood, for we have all benefited from it!

    • Thanks Anne. Winter gives us a window into the survival strategies of animals and I enjoy observing these behaviors in an unobtrusive way. I sometimes have to remind myself that, while I’m having fun with the camera, they’re trying to stay alive.

  3. Thanks, Nick, for taking time out from the shoveling to share this comical and entertaining scene. Cream Puff was so busy, and your photos are a wonderful series that brought a smile to my face.

  4. What a great sequence of photos! You did great capturing those images. I’ve never been particularly talented at action shots like that. I don’t suppose you’ve seen anything of Stubby lately? He was a character! Of course, what squirrel isn’t? Ha ha!

    • Thanks!!! Stubby was a global rock star and I miss the little guy. Regret that I didn’t have a chance to follow him through all of the seasons and complete his incredible story…

  5. Just love these action shots. What a wonderful capture. Another named squirrel…looking forward to seeing her antics. So cute!!

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