Anyone using the walking path in Lemon Park will quickly find themselves not alone. As the path meanders among the trees, past the lake and ball diamonds, past the empty playground equipment and the shelter houses, they will find they are in the midst of a gathering of squirrels.
Actually, a group of squirrels that doesn't consist of a family unit is a scurry while a family group is called a dray. Most squirrels aren't social so they don't usually form groups, according to wildlife writer and conservationist Rex Trulove.
While they may not form a group, they do spend a lot of time searching the ground for the odd nut under the park trees.
Most of the time, when a walker gets close, the squirrel will head for the nearest tree and go to the side opposite the person. They tend to keep moving around the tree to keep it between them and the walker.
However, some squirrels have gotten to the point where they no longer head for a tree when someone comes close. They are so used to people just walking by that some of their natural instinct seems to have relaxed and they just keep on looking for nuts.
They search for a nut or sit munching on their latest find as their tails keep that perfect arch.
A few of these furry guys have gotten to the point that they are interested in what all these people are doing, walking through their feeding grounds.
Recently, one rascal stood up on its hind legs and we indulged in a game of who will blink first. He didn't seem to mind that we were just a couple of feet apart and just stared at me as we checked each other out on a warm afternoon in Lemon Park. By the way, he won.
It seems that there are a lot of squirrels in the park this year. Maybe it was just a good year for nuts or maybe they have found a good tree to set up housekeeping. It's not unusual to see a couple of squirrels enjoying a good run as they chase each other through the trees.
Most of the squirrels, high tail it a tree when someone comes near but the bravest among them provide an excellent opportunity to study close-up.
It’s always worth it to take a moment to enjoy these busy animals as they find a snack and munch away while keeping one eye out for an intruder.
and another eye on a tree for their escape.
Happy hunting little guys. Its good to share the park with you.