Ground Squirrel (Otospermophilus beecheyii)

It’s not edible. It’s not threatening. It’s not a Christmas tree ornament. What in the world is it, and what’s it doing there? The mysteriously suspended red plastic ball seems to have this Ground Squirrel in deep contemplation. As a human I’m no wiser. This scene played out in the fenced-off Burrowing Owl sanctuary in the northeast corner of the park, so I refrained from entering to check it out. However, I noticed that occasionally a fisher or two disregarded the fence (which was vandalized and down for two weeks in January) and may have left this float suspended somehow in the dried stalks of vegetation. Even at maximum magnification of the digital image I could not tell how the ball is kept up.

Most fishers are clean and pick up after themselves. But there are exceptions.

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