It has rained all day. A wide band of rain has settled over Southern England. Surface water is gathering on the fields and ditches in the lanes are full to the brim. Just after midday, the Dog Fox arrived outside our window.
He and the Vixen live in underground earths on the edge of the heath and they visit the fields and village gardens every evening as dusk falls. They feed on small mammals, insects, worms and any berries or fruit that they can find. Two summers ago, our young plum tree was stripped of fruit one night. We found fox cub droppings underneath and all the plum stones, which the foxes had cleverly spat out.
This has been a long, hard winter for birds and mammals in the Forest. The braver Dog Fox has begun to visit gardens during daylight hours. There was a plentiful supply of grain beneath our bird table today, so this made a good light lunch for a hungry animal.
Our two Border Collie dogs go frantic if they see the foxes outside in "their" garden. They will leap and bark at the window, with tails wagging. The fox usually looks at them disdainfully and carries on eating. Dog will chase fox if they meet in the garden, but it seems as much in a spirit of play as a real conflict over territory.
Today, the cat watched from the warm, dry sitting room as Dog Fox fed outside.
My camera flash reflected on fox retinas. Dog Fox was not trying to look fierce. I just caught him with his mouth open!
Fluffed up with cold and bedraggled from the rain, the fox carried on with his meal, watched by a silent Ginger One, until little of the grain was left. I kept the dogs away while he ate in peace.
Shetland Footprints: An update - I was going to write a daily diary about we are up to here on The Shetlands, but I am now holiday blogger and, after wandering around as much of this place...
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