Walnuts drop like big chunks of hail in the backyard these days, as the gray and red squirrels begin their fall harvest of the nut crop. A few of the nuts are shelled and eaten on the spot, which leaves a nice coating of dark brown walnut varnish on sidewalks and deck boards. But most are carried off to their winter larder. The strategy for this harvest is apparently to scale the tree and climb down the ends of the walnut branches, liberate a dozen or so walnuts, and then scurry to the ground and carry them off, while fending off the interlopers.
The problem with dropping all those nuts on the ground at once is that it attracts other walnut lovers, who can then help themselves without putting in the work of harvesting them.
Down the tree the squirrel came in a flash, chased away a couple of other red squirrels and took off after a much larger gray squirrel (unfortunately these guys were just too fast for me to photograph).