I want to begin by saying two things:
First, I SWEAR I am not cheating to get these shots! Mother Nature has obviously taken pity on me and my crazy project and decided I deserve a few favors.
Second, just for the record, I was not anywhere near a zoo this morning.
I went out for walk...that's it. And THIS is what I came across.
I had actually decided to visit the Ken Euers Nature Area near the bay with the thought of looking for woodchuck burrows in the south facing hillside at the south end of the preserve. I remembered that, as a kid, my friends and I used to see the animals there munching grass near their holes on sunny summer mornings.
I did find burrows but no activity so I turned my attention to the birds flying everywhere feeding and scouting out desirable nesting boxes. The brilliant blue of a Bluebird caught my eye and I headed off in it's direction in hopes of somehow getting close enough for a photo. Just as I approached the nesting box the bluebird and it's mate seemed to be concentrating their efforts on, I glanced to my right and noticed something quite large and out of place halfway up a poplar tree. At first I thought of a hawk because one had been in the area when I arrived but as I got closer I could see that clearly this was a mammal of some sort. Porcupine? Very unlikely in this area. Raccoon? More likely. But getting closer, I realized it was the very woodchuck (you may know this animal better as a ground hog) I had come looking for in the first place! Obviously I was looking in entirely the wrong place. But having never seen a woodchuck in a tree before, the thought to look up for one hadn't really occurred to me.