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We are well placed for wildlife here, as those of you who've visited know -- nature reserve behind us and the wide space of the Cambridge airfield as a next-door neighbour. But the hunt for food in the snow is causing our local wildlife to range further and later. This morning, while washing-up, the garden was visited not simply by many of our usual birds -- pigeons, collared doves, blackbirds and the robin (who has taken up near-residence in our big St John's Wort bush) -- but by the cock pheasant, which fascinated Mooncat, a timid little muntjac deer, and, most surprisingly, the local vixen. She rarely comes this far: I mostly see her at the other end of the nature reserve, and from her behaviour she was interested in that pheasant. She's a lovely thing: rich red fur and a splendid brush. (Our foxes are proper healthy rural foxes, thankfully, and there is so much food for them most of the time what with the rabbits and so on that they rarely bother trying dustbins.) I didn't have a chance at a photograph, sadly, but it was fascinating to watch her trot about, nose following the pheasant trail.
Foxes are part of the rhythm of this road. My former neighbour V used to feed them at the other end of the reserve. We all tell each other when we see one of them -- almost always the vixen. The dog fox, who is huge, does not bother with our gardens, but, as the end house, I very occasionally see him on the airfield at dusk. I do wonder, though, if any of the local foxes are the adult version (or the child) of the very young cub whose mother left him in our garden to play one morning many years ago. He or she was a ball of red fluff with huge ears and paws, who spent a happy half hour killing dead leaves and pouncing on imaginary rabbits until his mother came to collect him. Caspian watched in fascination from the window, occasionally observing to me that he could deal with this intruder (we denied this: Sir was a small cat and vixens do not appreciate interference with their cubs). If we've ever cub-sat again, I haven't known about it, but that cub is one of my best memories of this house, and one of the reasons I don't want ever to have to leave it.

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( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
coth
Jan. 9th, 2010 10:44 am (UTC)
The first couple of years we lived here we had foxes lairing in our jungle back garden. The first spring we got up one morning to watch a litter of five cubs playing on the lawn - magical.

I know what you mean about not having to leave a house. This is the first one I have ever felt that.
ceb
Jan. 9th, 2010 10:47 am (UTC)
Deer and foxes! How lovely :-)
saare_snowqueen
Jan. 9th, 2010 01:27 pm (UTC)
Here in Kuressaare we have a fox that has taken up residence nearby the Spa hotels around the sea lake. It's become a comedy of errors or a game with it. The wild-life protection people net-trap him, take him out to the country and release it. A week or 10 days later and he is back. This happened several times over the summer. The protection people are so frustrated, they have started complaining in the newspapers that foxes and other wild animals should stay in the countrysode where they belong. I'm wondering if they believe that, in addition to recognising a reliable food source when he sees one, this intrepid fox has learned to read.
la_marquise_de_
Jan. 9th, 2010 03:02 pm (UTC)
Clearly he or she has chosen a territory and is going to stick with it.
maryosmanski
Jan. 9th, 2010 02:17 pm (UTC)
We have foxes and deer near us--about a third of a mile down the road where there is a stream and a stretch of woods. At least once a week in the early morning, I will see one or more of them crossing the road (not highly travelled) or going through the fields which lie in that direction.

What a lovely image of the fox cub! No wonder it is one of your favorite memories.
fidelioscabinet
Jan. 9th, 2010 07:21 pm (UTC)
I am delighted by your recollection of the foxkit, and croggled by the notion of muntjac deer taking over England.
la_marquise_de_
Jan. 9th, 2010 10:20 pm (UTC)
Muntjac are everywhere: they escaped from someone's private park, I think, and bred. They are lovely little things.
fidelioscabinet
Jan. 10th, 2010 02:38 am (UTC)
How are the native deer taking this? Or do the muntjac browse whither the natives tread not?
la_marquise_de_
Jan. 10th, 2010 11:10 am (UTC)
The muntjac seem to be settling into areas that are too small for the natives. The native deer are flourishing, I believe: they are much loved and much kept, particularly on land belonging to the National Trust..
stevegreen
Jan. 11th, 2010 12:49 am (UTC)
I haven't seen our local foxes for a while, sadly.
anna_wing
Jan. 11th, 2010 04:11 am (UTC)
Foxes are very cute. I saw a cub in Northern Greece once, sitting by the road watching the tour-coaches go by (I was on one of them).


Are muntjac edible and if so are you allowed to eat them?
la_marquise_de_
Jan. 11th, 2010 10:32 am (UTC)
I believe the answer is yes to both.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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