Ground squirrels are native to this area. Many people consider them a pest, because they can interfere with our agendas. In the natural ecosystems in which they evolved, they play a constructive role. Over the years, I have photographed them in a variety of circumstances -- as well as a predator.
Their Latin name has changed during this time. From Wikipedia 1/2014: "Formerly placed in Spermophilus, as Spermophilus beecheyi, it was reclassified in Otospermophilus in 2009 as it became clear that Spermophilus as previously defined was not a natural (monophyletic) group.… ^ Helgen, Kristofer M.; Cole, F. Russel; Helgen, Lauren E.; and Wilson, Don E (2009). "Generic revision in the Holarctic ground squirrel genus Spermophilus". Journal of Mammalogy 90 (2): 270–305. doi:10.1644/07-MAMM-A-309.1. Archived from the original on 22 October 2011."