Although there are only about 3 weeks until Christmas, the Palo Alto climate means that it feels much more like late September. There are still beautiful red and gold leaves on a lot of the trees, the weather is still pretty mild, at least during the day (about 17C today, and probably warmer in the sun) and there are still squirrels everywhere.
The preponderance of squirrels is partly because Palo Alto is such a wooded town. Just about every street around us has trees every few yards (metres?) down both sides, as well as some really mature trees in people’s yards. There is even a local charity dedicated to planting more trees in the town, which you can support with donations at the local grocery store (see, I even talk native now :). The surprising thing is that there are two varieties of squirrel here – not grey and red, but grey and black. As I have discovered using the magic of the interweb, black squirrels occur in lots of places. They seem to be a genetic sub-division of the grey (gray?) squirrel, like black cats or white mice. (By the way, there are some very odd people out there – just type squirrels into Google and find out!).