Sunday 10 February 2008

Signs of Spring

Ash Wednesday, and I was not having a very good day. First to the osteopath, left a bit more mobile but very tender. Then to the dentist, discover a recent tooth casualty cannot be saved. Then got boxed in a parking space in front of Blackrock Town Hall. (Never park there!) Home with my dear, supportive husband, groggy and emotional.

Getting ready for a well-deserved nap, looked out at window, and saw a fox! About 3 o'clock in the afternoon, a pleasant dry day. Out it walked from Martins overgrown corner and crossed the lawn. I only had a chance to register a big white snowball of a tail tip on a stocky, biggish fox, and stamp my foot and call "Fox!" to summon my husband from downstairs. Alas, fox did not pause but walked away out of sight down to the old den corner.

Couldn't tell the sex, or if it was the same one I spotted last week crossing the road late one evening by the laneway. (Tail tip looks right, though) Some time later, glancing out again, I saw it passing back along the fox-path, now completely overgrown so I could barely see, but I know the signs.

There has been an increase of night noises, yikkering and yelping, sometimes sounding like two voices: and the food left out reliably vanishes. All this is encouraging, but I don't see any of the affectionate company-keeping that we saw in other years between mated couples. And there have been many fine warm afternoons when you'd be likely to find sunbathing foxes having their afternoon snooze, and especially if the vixen is pregnant as she usually is at this time.

Wednesday's visitor had not so much the air of a landlord, as of a local sussing out possible boltholes. But it was my first daytime sighting for a long time and it lifted my sad spirits wonderfully. We may see cubs yet.