Monday 16 February 2009

Watch this!

A kind Facebook friend sent me a link to this YouTube video.

If the link doesn't work, just go to Youtube and search for "foxes trampoline".

Amazing! Yet not amazing: foxes are intelligent higher mammals and one of the signatures for that is PLAYING. Foxes are playful, even adult ones. They certainly seem to like the trampoline!

Monday 9 February 2009

Night screaming

Re; previous post. It may have been cool, but it was also darned cold! And continues so, ice on the ground and freezing fog. Ugh.
For two nights in a row over the weekend we were treated to soundbites of foxy relationships.
A high-pitched shrieking sound, which at first you might think was tomcats fighting, but it's not. Foxes have a more "wordy" vocalisation and they are probably finished mating by now. The screaming is more likely to be a territorial dispute, repelling invaders: or a matrimonial row over food.
Whereas the mating habits of cats would be enough to make human eyes water (female ones, anyway) and give devout thanks for not being cats.
I like it when we hear foxes, it tells us and all other creatures in the area that this turf is Taken!

Thursday 5 February 2009


Yes, she's under the shed! This is so amazing. I could follow every step as she went around the garden, methodically checking the compost heap, across the Pit, up to the pond, back down, then a detour back up to the bird feeder, down again and in under the shed! In places I could even faintly see the swished trail left by the brush of the fox, right over the footprints.
I felt like some tracker of the jungle, stepping around in the queer blue snowy moonlight.
This has been really cool!


More thick snow tonight, quite unusual for Dublin, we are having a good bit of snow this week for once.
About 10 tonight a couple of our resident young lads decided to go out in the garden to make, appropriately, snowcones. I went with them to put out food from fridge-clearing.
Well, Snowcone had been here already! I was absolutely thrilled to see the neat line of fox prints, coming up from the shrubbery, around by the pond (where the fox-dish was missing) and back down to the grass-heap. We don't often get to see good spoor so I eagerly looked up my book of animal tracks and signs.
Here I learn that foxes are digitigrade, would you believe that? Well I'd never have guessed (eye roll)
More seriously, I did know to recognise fox prints by their narrow oval shape, most usually seen as a series of tight pairs as the animal trots, their characteristic gait. If these are printed on deep snow, which then melts a little, it can look like a straight line of single prints, which has caused many folk-tales of a one-legged creature hopping in a straight line for miles.
I haven't seen any fox droppings but naturally I recognise those too, a small coiled pile with a pointed tip. Traces of hair in winter, of fruit stones in autumn.
A thought occurs: here's a golden opportunity to find out if the fox is denning under our shed, or in one of the neighbouring gardens. I'm off out again to have a look!

Tuesday 3 February 2009

A quick look

Snow on the ground and freezing temperatures. I stocked up on birdseed and peanuts for the bird feeders. I've put food out every night for foxes. Last night I had the bright idea of putting the dish under the garden table so that it wouldn't fill up with snow!
Pickings were slim, though. Had to throw on a handful of dry cat food, a new kind that Cleo doesn't like very much.

This afternoon about 3.30, a fox slipped into the Pit and came cautiously up the garden. (Did I explain before that The Pit is our family name for a low oval patio area screened from the house: so called because my father dug it out as a soil supply for levelling further up.)

Well, it's my friend with the pointy tail tag, henceforward to be called Snowcone. S/he spotted me moving at the kitchen window, and froze. So I froze. We stood freezing together...but reassured by my immobility, Snowcone explored the sadly empty fox-dish and went away to the grass-heap, where s/he leaped the wall at the traditional spot.

I feel it is my duty to mention here that the dead fox, adjacent to that spot, may have had a bit of dismemberment...ahem. Lost its head, in fact. Thank God for autumn colour, that's all I say.
Snowcone is a nice clear bronze fox, not very large, very healthy looking though probably hungry. Couldn't guess what sex, though I might hazard a certain feminine daintiness. The clearly separated conical tail tag is unmistakeable.

I'm always happy when I see a fox. It's lucky for me, a totem. SAD has lifted with the bright snow light, and foxes!