The regular fox sightings near our field pond and wild garden paint a fascinating picture of a thriving ecosystem in our backyard. Here’s an expansion of our observations.
The visiting fox, is likely a vixen, she is displaying classic hunting behavior. Her sniffing around rabbit hole could be for two reasons:
Prey Scouting: Looking for potential meals in the future.
Den Site Selection: Foxes give birth in dens, often repurposing existing burrows like those made by rabbits. So our vixen is hopefully looking for a place to bring up her fox cubs.
The time difference between our fox and rabbit sightings suggests a well-established coexistence. Rabbits are highly attuned to predators, possessing excellent hearing and sight. They detect the fox’s presence and retreat to their burrows for safety.
Foxes are more than just cunning hunters. They play a vital role in the ecosystem by controlling rodent populations, including those that can damage gardens and crops. Their presence also indicates a healthy environment with a diverse food chain. Unfortunately they do have a taste for chicken.
Another week of fox hunting. Camera in a slightly different position, hoping to see more investigation by the fox. Plenty of rabbits feeding at night. During the day, a group of starlings came to feast amongst the leaves. There was just one sighting of a fox, she looked to be investigating a home amongst the ready built dens. Still, plenty of time before she has her cubs. Next week the camera has been moved to show a wider view of the likely den area. Let us hope for some foxy pictures.
We decided on an earlier trip this week. Monday, weatherwise, seemed a better day than Tuesday. This trip was looking for Snowdrops, and I had been given a recommendation to visit St Botolph’s Church, Swyncombe. This came about during a chat with a fellow Kingswood gun club member on Sunday. She had visited St Botolph’s Church on Saturday, and mentioned the Snowdrops were gorgeous. On a Saturday and Sunday, the church volunteers were selling tea and cakes. We visited on Monday, so missed out on the victuals. Amazingly there were several people at the church viewing the Snowdrops. It is a lovely small, Norman church in a remote area of Oxfordshire on the Ridgeway and Chiltern Way footpaths. We looked around and photographed.
Next, we headed on to the National Trust house of Greys Court, renowned for its Wisteria and Bluebells. Here we had an early lunch, the seemingly standard winter menu of all National Trust house at this time of year. Both Rosemary and I ate the Vegan spiced bean pot, made not vegan by a slab of butter in my case.
We had a walk through the house, which had been in use up to a few years before. It is still maintained in a state such that you could think of living in the premises. You would need quite a lot of money to keep the place warm, lack of double glazing and large drafty rooms.
The gardens are not at their best at this time of year. There will be a visit for the Bluebells and Wisteria later in the year. There were though a couple of patches of Snowdrops, not as expansive as St Botolph’s Church, There is a maze, easy to manouver because you can plan your route, no tall hedges to restrict the view. Rosemary and I walked around it, unlike one chap who cheated!
Before we left, we paid another visit to the cafe for coffee and a cake, as well as the mandatory visit to the secondhand book shop.