Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Digging a Hole

Hi, everybody, I'm Matt, and I'm a gallery assistant at the Walker Art Center, and I'd like to thank Abbie for letting me take part in this wonderful thing of hers. I have a lifelong love of animals and nature that has, in my adulthood, regrettably become very armchair; this opportunity to go out and explore and observe has been simultaneously exciting and remarkably relaxing.

Please note that - well, elsewhere on this site Abbie has made mention of her amateur status, and that goes a hundredfold for me. Under ideal viewing conditions I am likely to be able to distinguish a house sparrow from, say, a dog, or a car. More should not be expected of me just yet, though I've been doing this for a little under two weeks now and it has been a speedy and remarkable learning experience.

My first report is about thirteen-lined ground squirrels, the 'gophers' (in a misidentification) of Minnesota mascot fame!

What: A thirteen-lined ground squirrel digging a new hole, or perhaps expanding an old one. Almost every day I go out to the sculpture garden I find new ground squirrel holes, which I'd been taking as a lack of prior attentiveness on my part - but perhaps the numbers are in fact growing, as today I saw a hole with dirt flying out of it, adding to a field of freshly-dug soil right outside of it.
Where: One of the raised areas with the trees on top of them, in the southeast section of the park; the ground squirrels seem to favor these areas when considering their real estate options.
When: Tuesday, June 4th, 2013, noon
Observer: Matt
Conditions: Overcast and rainy, though not actually raining at this time

(Note that, in the picture, the ground squirrel is a little darker than the usual, filthy from its excavations.)

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