Hemingford Abbots, 8 July 2020

The fox that Ian Jackson delightedly photographed with his phone has a near neighbour. I live just up the road and, back in April, I was searching in an old shed for some wire netting when my ears caught a faint sound of scrabbling. Inside a large wooden box there were two fox cubs barely 10 in (25 cm) from nose to tail. I quickly left the shed but on checking next day I found that the vixen had moved them to new quarters.

They cannot have been taken far because I have seen the vixen so frequently. This was usually at night but not infrequently by day. The movement of any large animal across my lawn triggers a security light and I sit up in bed to see who is the culprit. I have had Foxes, Muntjac deer, cats of course, an occasional Badger but, luckily, never a human intruder. My phone is waiting beside the bed.

Scrumping Apples

 Photographs by Robert Burton
Scrumping Apples

The Quick Brown Fox

The Quick Brown Fox

Drinking From the Pond (video still)

Drinking from the Pond (video still)

I have also set up a game camera on a tripod which takes videos or stills of the visitors. The foxes usually trot straight across the lawn and jump over the fence into the next garden or wander around, sniffing out worms or insects in the grass. They also stop for a drink by the pond (hopefully not taking the newts). This week I was very pleased to see two half-size foxes exploring the bushes together. The cubs have survived and are beginning to prepare for the time when the apron-strings will be cut.

Some weeks hence, they will find an easy source of food. Although Foxes are technically carnivores, they are not averse to feeding on windfall apples and pears. Aesop was not making it up when he wrote the fable of the fox and the grapes.

Robert Burton