I’ve been seeing this squirrel up in the trees of the DAWN area for weeks without being able to capture it on camera. It moved so fast! Then I stood watching a California Towhee fly up into a pine tree, and I noticed that someone was up on a branch watching me. My observer paid little attention to the bird, which hopped past just inches away. The squirrel’s curiosity must have got the best of it; it held its position on the branch for many seconds, just twitching its tail a bit, looking at that crazy human creature on the ground with his black box mounted on spider legs. Then it got bored and scurried off.
Not being any kind of squirrel expert, all I could say confidently is that this was not one of the hundreds of ground squirrels that inhabit the park. It’s a tree squirrel. But what kind? Checking the online sources when I got home, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that this is a Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger. Its eye ring is subdued, its belly is reddish/brownish, and its tail is quite full and bushy; also it’s a good size, not tiny like a chipmunk. If you know your squirrels and disagree, dear reader, please feel free to post a comment.
Update: Thanks to Rayna B., a wildlife biologist and squirrel expert, the verdict is that this is an American Red Squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus), definitely not a Fox Squirrel. I’ve corrected the ID. Thank you Kevin S. for referring this to Rayna.