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Posts Tagged ‘gray squirrel’

I was so shocked yesterday morning at Prince William Forest Park to spot a bright white squirrel that my brain froze for a moment—it simply could not process the information transmitted by my eyes. We have black squirrels in the Washington DC area, but I never realized that an Eastern Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) could be white.

My first thought was that it might be an albino squirrel, but when I zoomed in, I could see that its eyes are dark. I did a little poking about on the internet and learned that there are white morphs of the gray squirrel that have a rare gene that causes them to be white.

In response to a photo I posted on Facebook, Sue, a retired biology professor who authors the wonderful Backyard Biology blog, reminded me of a post she had written in 2013 entitled “A white shade of tail” that includes a lot of great information on white squirrels.  Who knew, for example, that there are locations in the United States where white squirrels are relatively common? Be sure to check out that posting and other awesome postings on Sue’s site, where she freely shares her accumulated knowledge, current observations, and beautiful images. (She is special to me too because she was one of the first subscribers to this blog almost seven years ago.)

I suspected that the white squirrel would be skittish, so I took a series of shots from a distance. As I anticipated, when I took a step forward, the squirrel scampered away.

At first glance, I thought all my photos were the same, but when I looked more closely, I saw that they captured different facial expressions. I try to look at my subjects as individuals and not merely as representatives of their species. The cute little expressions in these images remind me of the individual personality of this unusual little creature.

white squirrel

white squirrel

white squirrel

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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Squirrels scurry about so fast or hide in the shadows of the trees so often that it is frequently tough for me to get clear shots of them. This Eastern Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) took a break from his work to bask in the sun and enjoy a snack (I think it was an acorn) and I was able to snap a few shots of him.

I particularly like the way the light fell on the squirrel and how it illuminated the fluffy tail. In addition, I can’t help but like the squirrel’s cute pose and facial expression. He seemed to be enjoying his little snack.

Eastern Gray Squirrel

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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A new month started quietly, with few animals, birds, or insects visible on a cold. overcast day. I walked around my local marsh for a couple of hours and experienced nature in a series of small encounters, signs of the changing season.

A lone swallow sang softly in a tree; (CORRECTION: A sharp-eyed reader noted this is a female or immature Red-winged Blackbird)

A mallow flower bloomed unexpectedly in the water;

A squirrel peeked out from behind some branches;

The trees showcased their muted autumn colors; and

An advance party of Canada Geese came in for a landing.

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Taking advantage of yesterday’s gorgeous springtime weather, this little Eastern Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) took a break from his chores to enjoy a snack and to bask in the warmth of the sun for a few moments.

squirrel2_spring_blogsquirrel1_spring_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

 

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Despite the frigid cold and snow, the squirrels in my neighborhood are out and active (and looking surprisingly cute).

squirrel_snow_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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The squirrels in my neighborhood are very busy now as they scurry about getting ready for winter. This particular Eastern Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) paused several times to enjoy a leisurely snack. Rather than devour the treat on the ground, he would leap up onto this posing stand and delicately nibble away. He almost seemed to be aware that I was photographing him and periodically would change his pose to give me a different look.

I guess that I lucked into photographing a squirrel with modeling experience (and great hair).

Squirrel Nut blogSquirrel Nut 2 blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Another squirrel photo? In the past few months I have posted a number of photos of Eastern Gray Squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis). yet I  continue to attempt to photograph them whenever I can. Each time, the light is different, the environment is different, and the squirrel is different.

I really like the colors in this photo, the shades of brown and red, especially the way the brown-red surrounding the squirrel’s eyes is repeated in the exposed wood of the branch. I also like the unique characteristics of this squirrel, his cute pose and his little notched ear.

Another squirrel? I’m sure that squirrels will be featured again in my blog. In my suburban lifestyle, many days they may be my only link to nature.

Squirrel in tree

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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The photos in yesterday’s postings about Black Vultures were dark and gloomy and perhaps a little creepy. Today I am going to the opposite end of the spectrum with photos of a squirrel that are warm and cute.

I took these first two shots just outside of my house. Watching this squirrel through my kitchen window as he was digging in the grass, uncovering an acorn, I decided to try to take his photo. When I appeared, he slowly climbed up a tree and found a comfortable spot to enjoy his treat. The first image, my favorite, shows him posing before eating. I really like the effect of the light coming in from the side. The second one shows a more serious side as he seems to have adopted a more dignified pose.

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squirrel2_blog

Earlier in the morning yesterday I watched as two squirrels chased each other around—I think at least one of them had amorous intentions. Part of the time they went in an out of a hollow remnant of a tree. They would enter the tree at ground level and come out of the side of the tree. Here are a couple of photos of one of the squirrels as he vainly searches for his playmate.

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squirrel4_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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After two days that were heavily overcast, we finally had some sunshine yesterday, although the day started out below freezing.A light sheet of ice covered then pond where I have been photographing ducks and geese, and they had all disappeared.

Eastern Gray Squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis) were very active, though, taking advantage of the weather to scamper about and gather food. It was fun to watch them run around, sometimes chasing each other like little kids playing a game of tag. I came upon this squirrel on a broken off limb, enjoying a snack. He was high enough up in the tree that he did not seemed to feel threatened by my presence.

There was some beautiful lighting from the side and the back that illuminated his underside when he turned in certain directions. My first few shots were really overexposed. If this had been a human subject, I might have tried using some flash to add some light, but that did not seem to be the right thing to do for a squirrel out on a limb. So I intentionally underexposed the image, blowing out the background (which was mostly sky, so it wasn’t a problem). I recaptured a little of the sky’s color in post-processing and played with the settings to try to bring out the texture and color of the squirrel’s fur. I guess that I never realized before that the fur is not a solid gray, but is a mixture of lighter and darker hairs.

I especially like how the light hits the upper portion of one of his ears and the tip of his bushy tail. The reddish brown tones of the wood also help to bring out the colors of his face.  It was nice to have a cooperative, photogenic subject.

Out on a limb

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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