Although it’s cold and dark and not particularly pleasant, there are some advantages to Winter. For one thing the cold and general shortage of food supplies often brings larger animals closer to human proximity, and you can see creatures which normally don’t like to get too close. My dog recently had her ham bone stolen by a fox which came to visit my garden. I put a camera down in a good position and managed to get a nice shot of the fox paying a very early morning visit to the dog’s bowl, and glimpsing a person through the back window it hastily made its escape. Here is a photo of the fox looking up through the window, shortly after 5 a.m.:
The fox never seemed to notice the camera. This is the Red Fox – Vulpes vulpes, which can be found pretty much worldwide these days. Foxes are particularly beneficial for one reason – they eat more rats, and are far better at catching them than cats are.
Anyhow, although we are in the coldest part of the winter, there are already some definite signs spring is not far away. Here is a video I made this weekend which shows some of these signs:
So far we have had a very warm, sunny and mostly dry June here in Wicklow, with temperatures ranging from 20 degrees to 24 degrees Celsius in the shade. Last year was a very cold summer in contrast. And the lovely weather has brought the wildlife out. Here is a young Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) crossing the road right in front of me:
I was standing at a bus stop and happened to notice the electric green of a girl crossing out into the middle of the road, and the little fox was trotting in front of her, wary but not too scared. The girl and her sister went to the shop to get some food for it, as they were fairly certain hunger had brought it out. I suspect it was in the habit of foraging in the shop’s forecourt bin. It ented a field behind the bus stop and I got this lovely photo of it peering out from the corn:
Whereas livestock farmers often hate foxes, cereal farmers really appreciate their presence as they eat a lot of rodents and scare birds away from their fields. Birds are extremely wary of fields where they’ve previously seen foxes. At night you will often hear the piercing shriek of vixens across the hillsides. This usually happens in winter or early spring, but they also call in summer and autumn.
This year the Hawthorn blooms have lingered for a very long time, and they are absolutely beautiful:
I’ve been very slow with my posts in recent weeks but from now on I intend to keep them at a steady space, so watch out for them.
A lot of wildlife is there, but not always obvious because it gets up early. So you either need to get up early or put out camera-traps to catch photo or video of creatures. Here’s a brief glimpse caught by a trail camera of a Red Fox (Canis vulpes), our only remaining wild native member of the dog family, paying a visit to our front garden pond a few weeks ago, at 6 am. Daylight is coming much earlier now –