Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Foxes in the snow

Following the small amount of snow we had yesterday, the continuous dusting of snow all day has built up to a more substantial amount. I gave my mum a call to check she was okay and she said it had just started to snow heavily.
I looked out the window and saw movement down the dirt track next to our house. At first I thought it was a cat but soon discovered it was a fox. In fact it was two foxes, chasing each other across the track. At one point they reared up onto their hind legs, sparing with their fore paws. If I had not telephoned my mum and looked out the window at that moment I would not have noticed them. Although this seemed to be early courtship, there was no calling which would normally occur. Also, without the snow, I would not have seen them either. The foxes disappeared up the far end of the track.

I kept an eye out and about 30 minutes later I saw one fox in the track. It appeared to be hunting, occasionally pouncing. I took a few pictures (without flash, after dark – only possible because of the snow).

Then the batteries ran out, just as the fox appeared about 5 meters from my window. I changed the batteries and looked out the window, just in time to see the fox running back across the road and disappeared behind the tall flint wall and disappeared up the road.

After a few minutes I decided to follow the tracks (my daughter came with me) and see where they led.
I could see where the fox crossed the road and where the tracks led off up the path.

About 50m further, the tracks crossed the road and disappeared between two houses to a back access alley. The prints led to a low wall, the fox appeared top have negotiated this and entered the back garden of a house on the adjacent road.

We carried on up the road and turned of up a short track that turned right again leading back top the track that leads back to our house.
A few meters along and we disturbed a bird that was sheltering in the shadows on the ground. It flew up and headed away from us. I had the impressing of a largish (small chicken size) bird with a long beak. It looked like a woodcock!

We walked along the track and pass our house in the hope of encountering the bird again, but did not see any sign.
We carried on a short distance to the high street, by now the snow was really heavy and the glow of the lights on the snow made the scene rather eerie.

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