Snow Patrol

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Snowed in this morning and discovered to my dismay that we had run out of milk!  As that would mean no cups of tea, my hubby & I decided to brave the elements and walk to the shop (via a diversion to see if we could find any evidence of the activity of one of our three neighbourhood foxes!).  Part mammal-tracking, part bird watching and part urban foraging expedition – we’re lucky we remembered the milk!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Evidence that our fox is still around and active.  We have at least 3 foxes in the area (as this is the most I have seen in different areas within a minute or so of each other!) with our closest making his home on the open space behind our flats.  About 5 minutes of searching and we found the tell-tale tracks of the fox heading into the bushes near where we often see him.  (Alas the slight melt has meant that most prints were indistinct – I had wanted to do some comparative dog/fox shots for you but couldn’t find any clear enough; but foxes leave a distinctive trail that doesn’t wander – think of them as looking a bit like dogs with purpose!)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We turned towards the shops, and came across a flock of black-headed gulls (In their winter plumage, the chocolate colouring of their head reduces to a small patch of dark behind their eye!) was having some kind of party/dispute ahead – there were chips involved, I believe.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Next we walked past the fenced-in area of weeds and brambles that used to have a pylon (ergo the fence!) but no longer.  Standing in clumps were these fantastic dried umbellifers – and when crushing the seeds in my fingers and smelling them revealed them to be exactly what I suspected – fennel!)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Luckily my hubby has longer arms than I do, and reached some of the seed heads down for me so I could take a photo for you…OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So I was quite pleased with the wild encounters in a quick walk to the shop, and on the way back actually found a preserved cat footprint in the snow!  Four clawless toe prints with a small, tri-lobed pad behind – and the fact that they led from the pavement to the front door of a house was also a clue!

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So I’m now back on the sofa with the aim of spending the afternoon baking bread and catching up on one of my many half-finished knitting projects!  Hope you all have a warm & snuggly weekend – Let me know if you get out for a bit of mammal tracking!

7 Replies to “Snow Patrol”

  1. Thats the way to go milk shopping.
    We watched a pair of foxes last night, presumably a dog and vixen. They sit in the bushes outside waiting for us to put food down for them. Following the tracks back you can see where they wait and how close they are. Hopefully they’ll have cubs this year, it didn’t happen last year.

    1. When I was a teenager I lived with my mum above a shop, and we had a fox den under the shed in the garden. You couldn’t get into the garden (which is probably why the vixen chose it) and I used to throw food for them out of the bedroom window. Then one day the next door neighbour shot them all! I will never understand why people hate foxes so much – considering we are supposed to be a nation of dog-lovers, you would never believe it. And fox hunting – don’t get me started on that one!

    1. Beautiful! Listening to it now, thank you for the link – Belle & Sebastian are one of those groups I know I’d love, as I’m really into stuff like that but had never got around to listening to. 🙂

    1. Every night for the lsat ten years we’ve fed these foxes in the same place. The vixen brings her cubs in the spring and we watch them grow through the year. We don’t hand tame them, but they know us and when feeding time is due. In confrontations with cats the cats always win. They get mugged by the hedgehogs. If the foxes are eating the hoggies get under the foxes chin and jerk their heads up to prickle the foxes and steal their food. They don’t raid bins but they do dig occasional holes when they are caching food. We think they’re taken the odd goldfish here and there over the years, but on the whole most people don’t even realise we share our estate with these gorgeous, fascinating creatures, it would be a sadder place without them

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