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Fox Watch! Part Three

Fox Watch! Part Three

The foxes have become well and truly part of our routine. So much so that I'm beginning to learn a little about their behaviour.

They are amazing creatures to watch. A week or so ago (on one hot, lazy evening, I spent about 15 minutes sitting on the grass watching the cub practise its 'leaping' display. It had an old piece of pond netting and was hurling it around, catching and snapping at it. Meanwhile the adult fox was quietly napping in the flower-bed just a few feet from me. The leaping is astonishing and these pictures fail absolutely to capture the grace of the movement. I was transfixed, and felt hugely privileged to witness the scene.

cub leaping
cub leaping
cub leaping
Since then we've had evenings where several cubs have appeared together. Most are still very shy and scarper as soon as they see us, so these shots were taken through a window. Two cubs are in the foreground, and a third cub and an adult fox can be seen with 'beacon' eyes in the background

four foxes
Finally, a few nights ago I decided to take a short video on the camera, the results of which can be viewed in the following links. The file format is .wmv and it should play in Windows Media Player. The clips are between 1 and 2MB so may take a while to download. In the clip Cub Grubbing, the cub is hunting for bugs beneath the surface of the lawn. Towards the end of the clip you can see him snaffle up a tasty morsel. In the second clip, he's after more of the same, but has come right up to the camera and briefly investigates the low walled area along the edge of our small pond. The third clip is filmed in slightly better quality. At about 31 seconds in, my hand creeps in to the bottom of the frame to feed the cub some sultanas.

The next clip (Cub and Adult Fox) shows the adult picking up an egg, and the cub investigating. Nice to have the pair together in one clip. Cub Running is a short clip of the cub running the length of the garden. Cub Feeding is the longest clip and shows the cub in full 'I'm greedy' mode, while the latest clip, Cub Close-Up has some very close-up shots... the sudden movement of the camera is because I thought he might grab it from my hand!

Domestic Life shows the adult fox grooming. Note the way the leg is held out to the front. This seems to be characteristic behaviour. The clip ends as the fox disappears behind the pergola at the back of the garden. I've left some wobbly bits in but you get some close-up glimpses.

Egg was captured 17th August 2005. What you see is the fox waiting by our back door for an egg to be brought out. The egg is placed in a flower bed, and the fox jumps down for it. What you do see is the incredible watchfulness before the 'lift'. The video cuts briefly as it was taking so long for the fox to pick the egg up. Once the egg is safely in mouth, the fox jumps back up to the higher level of the garden, emerges through the shrubs and very carefully trots all along the path at the edge of the lawn. This is a definite habit - sticking to paths. At the edge of the garden she turns around, but this time uses the stepping stones in the border and then the low wall - always keeping to the hard surfaces - before disappearing back into the shrub.

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Fox Watch! 2
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back all text and images copyright Paul Cecil, 2005