The other day in Seattle, looking out the window, I thought I saw some gray plastic blow across the sidewalk below. I looked again, and saw it was actually a squirrel. But it didn’t look normal. It was much longer than usual. Looking more carefully, I made out it was carrying something – probably another squirrel, because a tail was wrapped around its torso. I took a quick iPhone photo, but it was moving jerkily across the street and I didn’t get a good picture.
My first thought was that this was the gruesome aftermath of a squirrel battle, and that was a dead squirrel. But then I did a search, and found that this is how squirrels carry their young.
This was likely the mother, transporting her youngster to a different location. She ran to shelter under a parked car, then darted across the road when the coast was clear and made it safely into the backyard of a house across the street.
I was hanging out in someone’s backyard on a recent afternoon when I noticed some tiny moths flying around. One settled on a small tree, and I got a photograph.
And because the internet is wonderful, sitting right there I could search for a match on my phone. It’s Oecophora bractella, a European moth that seems to have established a population locally. It was first seen in the US in Seattle in 1998. It lives on decaying wood and fungus. That seems right; a tree was cut down in this yard a few years ago, and the logs are still there, gradually decaying.
The other day, in Seattle, I saw a woven nest hanging in a bare tree. It wasn’t very high off the ground, but probably when the tree was in leaf, the nest would be well hidden.
It was quite large, and I wondered what kind of bird made it. Had it been in India, I’d have suspected some kind of weaver bird. But in Seattle? My usually reliable Google-fu failed me. So I posted the picture on Facebook.
One of my FB friends came back with a prompt reply: Bushtit. (Thanks, Rebecca!)
That’s these cute little birds, about 3.5 inches long.
(Click on the photo to go to more bushtit photos by urban wildlife photographer Janet Kessler – and the context for this photograph.)