I was walking around Hyde Park looking for galls the other day – it was in fact very successful as there were endless spangle galls to be found! – and then I suddenly stopped under a big tree when I saw this little guy walking around.
So, I was standing in a random location under a tree looking at this squirrel – when from afar I heard some barking getting louder and louder. Eventually, a small dog had bounded up to me from out of nowhere barking as menacingly as he could, followed by the distant calls of his owner screaming BUSTER! BUSTER! BUSTER! Although I hadn’t even moved an inch, Buster seemed to be very upset at me standing under this tree deep inside Hyde Park, far off the walking path. Buster’s owner kept apologising, explaining to me: “He seems to get upset about people standing still in unexpected places, but I don’t know why”. Buster would not leave or back down until his owner physically came between us and pushed him away. At that point Buster leapt off and ran barking at another tree not far away from where we were.
At first it seemed he had moved on, but then when I looked a little more closely, I realised that he had simply found a new target! Just a stone’s throw away, there was actually another lady standing stock-still in the middle of nowhere by another tree! This seemed almost comical as I had assumed that I was the only one standing around there staring at a random tree, yet there she was, another lady standing in the middle of nowhere staring at another random tree? Buster with his amazing dog senses had sussed out yet another person standing in an unexpected place! What sort of evolutionary function could this have? I’m not entirely sure, but good job Buster! And his owner followed in a panic trying to separate him from all the strange ladies standing under trees in Hyde Park.