We seem to have a new neighbor! I have lived in this neighborhood in Orange County since I was a small child (going on 40 yrs), and I have never seen tree squirrels here, a mile from the beach. Ground squirrels occasionally, but not tree squirrels. I've seen this one on my street, and I saw a group of three of them a few blocks away. This one does not have the typical fluffy tail, but he holds it like a tree squirrel, and he's got the right coloring.
My brother lives in West Hollywood, and I will sometimes see them scampering down the power lines when I'm visiting, but he isn't too far away from the Hollywood Hills, which probably serve as a wildlife corridor. This is a suburban area probably a good twenty miles from the nearest place I've seen a tree squirrel. Someone suggested the fires last fall in the Cleveland National Forest might have driven them into the city, but much of what was burned was charparal, not trees.
Huntington Beach CA
16 April 2008
Crossposted to urban_nature
Edit: Definitely fox squirrels - The Southern CA Fox Squirrel Page
(someone's master's thesis, apparently) says -
Fox squirrels (Sciurus niger) were introduced to the Los Angeles area in about 1904. Civil war and Spanish American war veterans residing at the Sawtelle Veteran’s Home on Sepulveda and Wilshire Boulevards brought fox squirrels to this site from their homes in the areas surrounding the Mississippi Valley (possibly Tennessee). Other introductions of fox squirrels to the Los Angeles area may have taken place during more recent times but detailed records are not available.( ...and grunion greeting! )