I Admit It: Palm Squirrels are Cute

After an hour or so sitting on the same branch, the Asian Koel from last week’s photos flew off, leaving all the food for the palm squirrel.

Peeling the yellow skin off

For a few days the squirrel re-appeared in the same tree every morning.  Then one day I looked out of my kitchen window and realised that all the yellow nuts were gone.  Between them, the Asian Koel and the Indian Palm Squirrel, with his long red tongue, had eaten the lot.

Is that a red tongue?

The palm squirrel has three stripes on its back (as you can see in the next photo) and there is an Indian legend about the origin of the stripes.  The version that I have heard is that Lord Rama was building a bridge between India and Sri Lanka in order to rescue his wife Sita, and the squirrel helped by adding some twigs and sand (shaken from his fur) to the bridge-building materials.  Lord Rama thanked the squirrel, leaving three stripes where his fingers stroked the squirrel’s back.

Showing off his three stripes
Showing off his three stripes

So I will admit that the squirrel is cute – but don’t forget my first comment on Indian palm squirrels – complete with “Wanted” poster: 2 May 2013.

Asian Koel

A bird was sitting outside my kitchen window for a long time last week.

Asian Koel

I’m pretty sure it’s an Asian Koel, and I wonder if it is the offspring of the bird I photographed in March.  The Koel is a kind of cuckoo, so (without any evidence at all) I imagine that that female laid her egg in a crow’s nest in one of the trees near my house; that the egg hatched; that the chick fledged; and that the juvenile bird flew back into my garden for a photo opportunity.

Tentatively identified as a  juvenile Asian Koel
Tentatively identified as a juvenile Asian Koel

It was breakfasting on the yellow palm nuts , but had to share a few with a palm squirrel (who is just a scurrying furry blur in the final photo, but gets a starring role in my next blog entry).

Yellow berries for breakfast
Yellow palm nuts for breakfast
Plenty of berries for bird and squirrel
Bright-eyed bird and bushy-tailed palm squirrel

Palm Squirrel

How do you feel about the Indian palm squirrel in this photo, as he looks out from the trunk of a mango tree in my garden?  Do you think he’s cute?  Then you probably don’t have any palm squirrels as neighbours.

They call “cheep cheep cheep” as loudly as possible every morning at dawn, from a vantage point on the side of our house.  They get even louder when they spot a cat.  No mechanized alarm would produce a sound like this.  I spotted one on the roof of another house and I could almost swear that he had his paws up to his mouth to make a megaphone.  So, however lovely he looks with his three white stripes, I’ve put him in a “Wanted” poster!

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