This evening we experienced yet another new creature at Lake Wicwas - something we've never seen before: a flying squirrel.
They are reportedly quite common in this area, but being nocturnal, they are not often seen. Flying squirrels do frequent bird feeders, but since we don't put our feeders out during bear season, and we don't usually bird-watch in the middle of the night, we've never seen one. This evening though, Linda turned on the light to see if the approaching cold front was bringing any snow, and there on the feeder was this cute little guy.
I don't know if it's a "northern" or a "southern" flying squirrel, but I'll guess a northern because of its rich brown coloring, where the southern has a lighter fur in the winter. The northern is larger, and this one seems rather small, but it was scrunched up due to the cold, so it's difficult to judge its true size.
It hung onto the feeder for a long time - at least 30 minutes - trying to get to the seed, which it couldn't reach with its short legs. Linda spreads lots of seeds under the feeders for the ground birds, and the squirrels enjoy that as well, and they know that where there are seeds on the ground, there's a source up above!
You can see the dark line that separates its dark uppper-body from the the light fur on the underside of the layer of skin that stretches between its legs and its body that it uses to glide from tree to tree or from tree to ground.
This guy was not at all concerned about us or the light coming on the middle of the night - it made no attempt to run off. In fact, it let me go out and take a couple of pictures with a flash from only a few feet away! I thought when I went out it would leap off the feeder, but instead it just hung on with its little feet, and went on trying to crack the cache.
One more of nature's fantastic creatures observed on the shores of Lake Wicwas!