Thursday, April 7, 2011

California ground squirrel, Berkeley Marina

California ground squirrel in cute pose - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

By this time of year the burrowing owls should have left Cesar Chavez Park at the Berkeley Marina to spend the summer months in their breeding grounds. While the owls are the main wildlife draw of the park, there are plenty of other subjects around including lots of song birds and raptors, and of course a lot of California ground squirrels.

Squatty ground squirrel - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

It's always interesting to see the interaction (or lack thereof) between the burrowing owls and these squirrels. The fact that they are basically the same size probably has something to do with that, since I think they are too large for the owls to consider prey. So instead they seem to tolerate each other at close range, and since they share the shame aerial predators, I would guess the owls appreciate having the extra eyes around.

Ground Squirrel Snack - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography

While I was sitting on the ground photographing an owl in its burrow last month, this cute subject came strolling into my line of sight. Initially I was frustrated by the brown blob in the frame, but I quickly decided to refocus and snap off a few frames of this photogenic critter instead.

Caught in the Act - Pat Ulrich Wildlife Photography


  1. oh they're beauties! such lovely fur!

  2. So adorable. Wouldn't you love to know what he is thinking?

  3. Great images pat. Love the color and detail on the squirrel and the soft FG and BG.

  4. crisp and clear!!!!

  5. I have to ask... what did you shoot this with? Perfect color and clarity. Also, are the shots of the owl on your site too?

  6. Love the shots, Pat. I like that it doesn't have a "perfect" coat, but looks more "lived in" instead. Beautiful.

  7. Thanks, texwisgirl! I'm not sure if this particular one was in transition between two coats, or is just a bit darker than the others, but it did come out nice.

    Thanks, Gale! That's my favorite of the bunch too.

    Thanks, Carol! It would definitely be interesting to know, although I'm pretty sure that last shot was when it realized I was photographing it!

    Thanks, Jim! The electric grass of spring always makes for a nice setting.

    Thanks, Debbie!

    Thanks, kristinhines! This is shot with a Tamron 200-500mm lens on a Nikon D90. Here's a link to one of the owls, and there are other posts too: If you click on the keyword link "Western Burrowing Owl" at the bottom of that post, it will bring up all of the others.

    Thanks, John! I think "lived in" is a great description for it!