Met Pirate by the lake on the way home — he's got a lot of shifts this week (yay), so if we hadn't gone today he would have had no squirrel time until Monday. Can't have that...
We arrived at the tree at the same time, and as we propped our bikes against it a squirrel came down the trunk to peer at us. Nuts, monkeys?
We think it was a new one that we hadn't fed before, because it was a bit wary of coming too close. Once we got up in the tree and got settled with our coffee and trail mix, it would cautiously come get a nut, sniffing warily and keeping a close eye on us, then retreat a little way up the trunk to eat it. A couple of others showed up after a bit. One was Honey Brown, I'm pretty sure — she's the boldest and most confident, and the most at ease about hanging nose-down on the trunk, resting her forelegs on one's palm as she munches away on the trail mix. (About which: OMG OMG OMG so so cute. Ahem.)
We'd been up in the tree for a bit when from below we heard, "Have I found the Squirrel Whisperer?" Yes, you have! Hi! Um... do I recognize you? No, but if you're somebody I know from online, that's not surprising...
It turned out to be merle_
's sweetie (whose LJ handle I realize I don't know. Oops). We hung out, the two of us literally so in the tree, chatting about squirrels and bartending and Monty Python (with yours truly missing a reference badly — minus 10 geek points for me) for a while until merle_
Future plans, at least in my head — the others may remember them slightly differently — although still vague and general, are to explore Lakeside Park further for additional suitable squirrel-visiting spots and to assess the climbability of more of the trees. merle_
described several places elsewhere in the park that sound like they might be promising. Also thoughts of trying a wider range of nuts to see what the squirrels prefer. I think we ought to start bringing some in-the-shell nuts as well as the shelled ones, to increase the chance that they'll survive being buried.
Pirate and I were talking about the challenges of identifying the different squirrels, especially the ones that don't have visible markings or scars. "I've had thoughts of microchipping them," I said. "The chips are only the size of a large grain of rice these days."
"Nah," said Pirate. "I want to get a laser pointer and put extra-powerful batteries in it and use it to brand them. 'Hey, it's Star-Butt. And over there is Heart-On-His-Ear.'"
"You're horrible," I said. "No wonder the squirrels like me better."