Saturday, February 28, 2015

Rocky

I've mentioned before that we have motion sensor lights here at our oasis in the wilderness. And tonight as I walked into the kitchen I noticed one in the side yard was on.

"Light's on" is our cry whenever this occurs, and we quickly get to and look out the nearest window.

Our most frequent night visitors are the wind, a neighborhood cat, raccoons, and an opossum, in that order. But the night was calm and when I glanced out the window I saw none of the usual suspects. But then I noticed something fly across the yard and land on the nearest tree. It landed on the tree like a woodpecker. And I thought "woodpecker" but also thought is curious that it would be flying at night. And then I recognized it.


"Patty," I yelled, "we've got a flying squirrel!"

And so we did.


It took a while to make its way down the tree and across to the triple stump, where Patty had smeared some of her peanut butter/birdseed mix. Which the birds, and the ground squirrels, find quite yummy.


As do, we now know, flying squirrels.

There are two species of flying squirrel which occur in New Jersey, the northern and the southern. As the northern is generally only found in the northwest corner of the state, I determined that this is of the southern variety (call me Sherlock ...).


Both varieties are nocturnal, and have large eyes, ears, and whiskers. The northern is slightly larger.


(If you bigafy the above image you might make out the long whiskers.)

It seems the key difference between the two species is that the southern's belly hair is all white, while the northern's is white at the tip but black at the root.

We had suspected they were in the area, as the habitat is right, and were surprised that they hadn't made an appearance. They probably have been, but we've just not been at the right window at the right time. But know we know when the light's on to look up as well as down. And hopefully, they'll be regular visitors.

1 comment:

gregworld said...

Hey Steve..so cool...I haven't seen a flying squirrel since growing up in West Virginia. Great capture.

Greg