Sunday, 1 June 2014

A Bright Sunshiny Day…

…though not first thing in the morning it wasn’t!  After leaving the house first thing I immediately retreated back in to retrieve a jacket.  The weather forecast may have been saying sunny, warm weather but for now it was cold and grey.

I hadn’t really planned to photograph anything particular to day, as so often is the case with me, I just wanted to get out and enjoy the forecasted summers day.  I did however, hoped to see a Fox, it seems rare that I see them nowadays, but first the air was full of competing bird songs and so there was some opportunity to grab the odd picture though many of the birds were either hidden away in the bushes or just skittish.  A small flock of Goldfinches – one of our more colourful birds – stopped briefly before flying on, while a Meadow Pipit with a mouth full of food perched, calling for its young and another just just seemed content to make its presence known, chasing off any intruders.


A change of pace and a look to see if there were any Foxes about.  I thought with the time of year they might be more active during the day with cubs to feed.  Also with the grass long, it would give them plenty of cover in the daytime.  After a short time of waiting I could see movement in the distance but it wasn’t a Fox, rather, lots of little Rabbit ears popping up above the grass.  Over the years I’ve often seen Foxes here in the daytime but not Rabbits even though I knew from the occasional sightings and traces they were around.  Now it seems a reversal in habits between them.  Maybe the Rabbits got wise and thought they would be safer during the day if the Foxes were now nocturnal.


Rabbit out in the heavily dew socked grass

The Rabbits seemed quite relaxed.  Every now and then, a head would pop up and take a look around.  The sound of my camera taking a picture would result in their ears suddenly pointing in my direction, like little radars.  I don’t know how a Rabbit feels, but moving around feeding in long grass must be like us in a dense jungle knowing there could be a Tiger just metres away!

Fortunately the Rabbits didn’t have to rely just on their large pair of radars on their heads.  A couple of Magpies were nesting nearby and these are a great early warning for any predators about.  Flying overhead they literally get a ‘birds eye view’ and can see any Foxes around.  In the past they’ve always been a good help in my finding a Fox as their alarm call is very distinctive and in fact last year I found one in exactly this way.  On a number of occasions on this day the Magpies would suddenly become very agitated, the pair of them flying around and surrounding an unknown intruder.  Unfortunately I could never see what it was that was getting them worked up as it always seemed ‘over there’ or in an inaccessible overgrown area.


Alarmed Magpie


Checking to see what all the noise is about


One Rabbit braving the open

SMP_2749Eventually, after over three hours in the now hot midday sun, I decided to follow up on another Magpie alarm call, but all was quite by the time I reached the spot.  I decided to wait in the hope that the ‘Fox’ would return but the air was full of a nearby Aspen tree releasing its seed pods into the air which (see left), along with the many flies in this particularly damp area, made it very uncomfortable.

With soaked muddy feet, fluffy white seed being breathed in and countless flies determined to drive me nuts I decided to move on.  After a short distance I came across a sure sign that a Fox had indeed been here.  A patch of the long grass had been flattened where the Fox had obviously lay, in a south facing spot no doubt to enjoy the early morning sunshine.  Had it been there before when the Magpies were alarm calling?  It was certainly very recently flattened.

This is something I have seen Foxes do on a number of occasions and despite being often thought of as nocturnal, they obviously like to catch a ‘few rays’.  One time whilst walking through a wood, I spotted out of the corner of my eye what I thought was a ginger cat sleeping in a shaft of sunlight coming through the trees. A second glance showed it was a Fox, curled up nose to tail asleep, just about five metres away!  Having not seen me I crouched down onto the ground, looking down as I did so.  In the few seconds it took for me to do so and then looking back up, it was gone!  It didn’t make a sound and I didn’t see it go, it just disappeared.


A sign that a Fox had done a bit of ‘sun bathing’


Above was another sign of a regular Fox presence.  Although not obvious from the photo, I’ve marked a regularly used path, one of many I could see on the day.  Worth a few more visits over the coming months I think.

1 comment:

  1. Look at the rabbit, bounding along happily! Absolutely idyllic photos!