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_ arrived.
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."