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Squirrels, I fumed as I scanned the trees: never ever all-around whenever you require one.

I'd published a Tale in regards to the Central Park Squirrel Census, the first identified try to depend each and every squirrel within the 840 acres that make up the most popular park inside the place.

Inconceivable as this venture seemed, numerous volunteers enlisted. On Sunday afternoon, I joined them.

A dozen of us gathered in a stone archway close to the north end of the park. The Squirrel Census Commander, Jamie Allen, assigned Everybody a 100-by-100 meter square, handed out maps, clipboards and tally sheets, and instructed us to acquire cautious notes.

“After you see a squirrel, you’re intending to look at it for 30 seconds into a minute,” he suggested. “It’s intending to do a great deal in that time.”

The census-takers have noticed much more than 800 squirrels so far. But I had drawn a tough sector — the park’s northwest corner, within the active intersection with the Higher West Aspect and Harlem. Many of my sq. lay outdoors the park alone, a fluke of boundary-drawing that Mr. Allen certain me did not issue due to the fact any squirrels I saw that near to the park lived inside of it.

I walked the perimeter of my square, marveling for the choice of non-squirrel action: a teenager carrying out wheelies on 110th Road, Young ones skating across the statue of Frederick Douglass within the site visitors circle, a person hunched more than a trash bag sorting by way of parts of unidentifiable nineteen eighties Office environment equipment.

A lady pulled down balloon-festooned signs promoting an open home for a three-bedroom condo. A boy with superhero experience paint took his mom’s hand since they descended the subway stairs. A sparrow flitted and skipped beneath a hedge. No squirrels.

Just inside the park, small children sprinted throughout a playground plus a scraggly cairn terrier strained at his leash. A crow flew overhead, lit over a black locust tree and flew off once more.

Beside the playground loomed a mighty oak, no less than 40 ft tall. I ended, listened, searched for telltale movements while in the Cover. Viewed for falling acorns. I craned my neck right up until it damage, but saw no squirrels.

No squirrel perched on the rim of the trash can nibbling a discarded crust. No squirrel chased One more down the trunk of the ginkgo tree. The big apple’s aggressively lovable, cutely aggressive park mascot had out of the blue turned elusive.

I looped up a dust path and onto the 110th Avenue bridge and peered down glumly to the tops of silent trees.

I checked some time. The twenty five-minute period of time I had been supposed to expend canvassing experienced handed. I took a couple of unwilling measures back toward the rendezvous place After i saw a bicycle owner stopped with the aspect of West Push, pointing his camera at one thing. I followed his line of sight and saw a rustle during the grass.

Up the small rise came Sciurus carolinensis in all its perky-eared, bushy-tailed woodland majesty, a splendid specimen with cinnamon highlights in its grey coat.

The squirrel took a handful of techniques, pawed at the ground, appeared up for Threat, and recurring the sequence, in that twitching stop-start off way.

Then it rose on to its hind legs and appeared — I've blown up and slowed down and rewatched the video just like the Zapruder footage — to take a stage ahead in an upright placement, right before arching just like a diver and leaping on to its front paws.

Like to rejoice, the squirrel paused and executed a saucy tail dance, leftrightleftrightleftrightleftright, that will set a touchdown-scoring jogging back again to shame.

With that, it bounded to the weeds and headed down the embankment, towards the shouts of youngsters echoing within the tire swing underneath.

I drew a one within the corner of my map and headed back to rejoin the Other people.

The Central Park Squirrel Census ends on Saturday. Alas, all volunteer slots are crammed.

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