Thursday 1 January 2009


Well, this is a nice New Year's omen. I saw Grizzle twice today. First at about noon, walking away from the fox-dish which had been empty anyway. He, or she, leapt lightly over the wall into Martin's, just at the very spot which is the foxes' traditional crossing-point, and just below which lies the body of his fallen comrade. I'm almost afraid to look, even though the dead body is a little way to the left from the landing point.

An hour or so later I saw him again from the bedroom, sitting under Martins' oak-tree, scratching the back of his or her neck. It got up and trotted briskly away into the old den area and did not reappear. I had put food out but the fox did not go back for it - they never do, somehow. As if their daily schedule must be followed in order. Food has been found on two successive days in that spot during the morning, so it will be checked every morning, and that's that.

Description: Grizzle is a large fox. One can be deceived at this time of year by heavy winter pelage, I know: but Grizzle is not very thickly furred, but actually rather gawky looking. A bony, somewhat elderly, look. Fur on back is a good dark reddy-brown, almost conker colour. Tail thinnish but not apparently mangy. Long and with white tip and whitened along the length a bit, hence the name.

Of course we know what Grizzle is up to. At this time of year, every self-respecting fox is looking for a mate and a breeding territory, in either order. Here is a nice couple of overgrown gardens, one of them very secluded, full of cover, food regularly available nearby, and a history of use by foxes. There's underground earths adjoining, comfy lying-up spots, private playing areas, covered runs and escape routes. Jam for the first comer, in fact. Now bring on the talent and let's make whoopee!

And by the way, Happy New Year!

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