Today overall, I got to within 3m of the squirrel. I pushed my luck to 1m but he didn't pop out for a show. As a spontaneous gesture, I left a quarter near the spot he would pop out of (squirrels like shiny things right???). Hopefully it'll either be there when I get a chance to come back or he takes it away to his hideout - instead of some dude jackin' my 25 cents! Another observation I made was that the seagulls and squirrels get along and don't really harass eachother (as there was an instance when all three of us were within close proximity but the squirrel paid no attention to the bird and was more concerned with me.
As noted earlier, I was looking for some way to identity myself to the creatures that reside in the slough and rubble. After picking up some items from the edge of the water I'll be working on some device (like a rattler) to use to audibly declare my presence. Not sure if this would work, sounds like a crazy idea, but telling a squirrel how your day went seems so as well...
After some thoughts, I knew I had to make my way back to the slough. This time I brought my trusty digital camera - the chances of incorrectly loading the film disappears. The moment I got there, I noticed another man fishing for bait fish not too far from my jamspot. I felt apalled; how dare he encroach in my space! But then I wondered, if I am any different than he is, through the residents' eyes, or what leads me to the conclusion that this is now my space. I am afterall, only a visitor and the residents here are allowing me to stay. Hmmm, interesting indeed.
The moment I got situated I once again started the curiosity/stare game with 2-3 squirrels. Pictures followed afterwards and I thought of trying something new this time; hoping to go in a new direction - literally! Since curiosity was in the air, I wondered what the furry little guys would do if I moved away from them instead of frustratingly trying to advance. In a span of about thirty minutes, it seemed the squirrel's attentions deminished as I moved away. This proves one can't really "lure" them away/towards you.
Accepting the small amount of time we shared together (and decided for this trip not to wait it out like how I used to), I considered and embraced the real randomness/natural progression this encounter, and hopefully the later ones, will take. I began construction of my "shamanistic pole." I'm thinking of making some windchime-type of piece and permanently place it somewhere near my jamspot. A work in progress.
With a new mindset and the other research collaborators' suggestions, these slough adventures may continue on afterall. Oh, and the quarter is still there!
Documentation of encounters
Having finally thought of a way to document my encounters with the Goleta Slough squirrels, I felt that it is nearing the time to conclude these adventures. Using the pole I built with elements from the area, I tied string to it and the end is connected to wooden skewers. The location of these skewers marks memorable or frequent locations where I have spotted squirrels and shared a curiosity experience.
For the last couple of encounters, I couldn't help but wonder what would happen if I came with a can of cashews, even though it wasn't really much of a surprise. The squirrel underneat the rock in particular, kept stuffing his cheeks with chewed nuts and during the second day of encounters, he started walking towards me a bit (perhaps looking for more) while another watched his back from inside the little cove.
The structure is fairly rigid except for the first night when the high tide washed it off its sandy base. It's been up for 3 days/nights now and is interesting to see how some seaweed that was washed up gets caught on the string, which itself changes in slack according to it being weighed down by water or other stuff. I will continue monitoring the structure and even placing additional skewers/strings marking any more future encounters. It will be interesting to see how eventually, it will blend along with the environment, masking the very markings of my non-human encounter as well as, literally becoming part of the environment, further bringing my experience only to exist in some ephemeral state.
A couple interesting things happened today during our encounters. I added a pinecone onto one of the strings (inspired by an idea by Mark, but instead of traps and poisons :), and was surprised to see a couple squirrels playing with the pinecone - resulting in the strings moving. Not sure if they were trying to eat it as I couldn't get around fast enough to document it. Another interesting thing that happened today was the large number of squirrels (4-5) that showed up during the 1.5 hours I was there and the proximity between them and I has greatly waned - I'd hate to think it's because of my nuts, but more so the curiosity of this constant visitor.