The Daily Bucket is a regular feature of the Backyard Science group. It is a place to note any observations you have made of the world around you. Snails, fish, insects, weather, meteorites, climate, birds and/or flowers. All are worthy additions to the bucket. Please let us know what is going on around you in a comment. Include, as close as is comfortable for you, where you are located.
July 6, Tallahassee Florida - low 70s and clear outside. A sodden world wakes up. The birds seem a bit more exuberant than normal. For the first time in days it seems like it is not just about to rain. Last night the noise of insects was almost unbearably loud as I fished a narrow-mouthed toad and a cricket frog from the pool.
Yet the incredibly verdant, almost overflowing with life, summer in north Florida is lacking something. It does not have baby Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrels.
June 29, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah. Dry and unusually hot. Baby Golden-Mantled Ground Squirrels are detected and their unbearable cuteness is documented for posterity and the advancement of science.
The Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel, Spermophilus lateralis is widespread in the interior of western North America, mostly occurring in mountainous regions. It is mostly found in open coniferous forests and woodlands but can occur above treelike and down into sagebrush desert. The Smithsonian's Mammal Species of the World has some information and a link to a very complete pdf with detailed information. I also discovered that the rather sparse Wikipedia entry was copied verbatim from the Bryce Canyon page on these squirrels.
They are among the more wide-ranging ground squirrels, occurring from southern Alberta and BC to California, Arizona, and New Mexico. Like chipmunks they are very common in picnic areas and campgrounds where they become acclimated to humans.
A lot of people mistake these guys for chipmunks. Chipmunks are also small ground dwelling squirrels but can be distinguished striped Spermophilus ground squirrels by the presence of striping on their faces. As in this Uinta Chipmunk (variably named Eutamias umbrinus and Neotamias umbrinus not sure which is currently correct), also from Bryce Canyon National Park.
"Green Diary Rescue" is Back!
After a hiatus of over 1 1/2 years, Meteor Blades has revived his excellent series. As MB explained, this weekly diary is a "round-up with excerpts and links... of the hard work so many Kossacks put into bringing matters of environmental concern to the community... I'll be starting out with some commentary of my own on an issue related to the environment, a word I take in its broadest meaning."
"Green Diary Rescue" will be posted every Saturday at 1:00 pm Pacific Time on the Daily Kos front page. Be sure to recommend and comment in the diary.