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Wind, Rain, Work, Family and…. Foxes!

This is the 2nd guest blog by Lucy Cox after her first on Badgers and Mental Health.

In this blog she talks about the recent weather and lack of Badgers and her recent close encounter with a fox.

The weather has been pretty dire, work is ramping up for the end of term final assessments at college, Scouting has returned face to face and daily, family life still goes on…

That being said I have managed to escape down a handful of times in the last month or so to check in on Brock Wood and its resident star, Scarlet!

Brock Wood had a certain stillness to it during February and the back end of March but now in May life is starting to explode everywhere; trees are starting to bud and the beautiful bluebells are flowering… and being very lucky one evening, I caught the briefest of glimpses of badger cubs the size of a small Hovis loaf!

Badgers don’t seem to like wind, so with the recent poor weather and storms most evenings sat at Brock Wood have been futile… well maybe not totally, we witnessed a majestic barn owl swoop into a nest box one evening right on cue!

So how have we been getting our daily wildlife fix? To be honest I am very fortunate in my job role being outside most days so I do get to see varied wildlife throughout the week… but in the evenings and at home it’s slightly different.

One morning whilst getting the dogs ready for their pre-working day walk I was hit the familiar musky smell of fox and realised our red four-legged friends were back on our estate… a neighbour also called me that evening to say she had picked up a fox on her ring door bell and let me know the time.

Knowing that foxes are creatures of habit I had quick rummage through the drawer for some batteries and we were ready to roll that night with the trail cam. The camera was set in position along with a few tasty treats. Right on time, a beautiful vixen strolled up to the door, casual and confident. She sat down to ponder over the evenings musings whilst chewing delicately on her fresh chicken snack. Of course, I didn’t know about this until the following morning when I checked the camera.

Over the next week it became apparent there was more than one fox visiting. Sprout, named by our daughter, is the young confident Vixen who arrives early on in the evening and is brazen enough to walk past neighbours on their doorsteps; Chip (French Fry), aptly named owing to the nick

in his ear, is a young dog fox who appears not long after Sprout has appeared and Dogger the old Dog fox, big, elderly (possibly blind), shy and a bent tail. All three with very individual characters.

What was interesting was the appearance of Chip at the latter end of the week and how Sprout changed her timings to arrive for food. Sprout arrived in broad daylight at 8:45pm and I suspected this was to ensure she could get to the food first, the question pondered had she got cubs?

Then out the blue last night at 6:30pm my daughter came hastily down from upstairs to say there was a fox outside, I explained it was too early and was she having a giggle, but as I said this I glanced out of the kitchen window and sure enough there was Sprout! I grabbed some bits off the side and a mini pork pie and went to the front door, as I opened it she realised it was the house which occasionally supplies treats. Her eyes met with mine, just as they did with Scarlet the Badger’s when I first gained her trust. She then gently dipped her head, almost an acknowledgement I was not a threat, and then she proceeded to steadily trot over to me.

Surprised at her coming over towards me I bent down to her level and gently threw a couple of bits of chicken, she scoffed them down and took some around the corner.

Surprised by the visit I phoned Stephen to let him know and as I was on the phone she returned so I hastily ended the call.

She came straight back up to me as I came out the front door and I knelt down to hold the pork pie out, she gently took it from my hand and trotted off! Baffled by this surreal experience I called our son down to come and watch and bring my camera, sure enough as he came down she reappeared.

For a whole 30-45 minutes we had constant back and forth from Sprout for snacks, she even had a cheeky lie down and stretch in the long grass about ten foot away from us, the latter of which was terminated by a very angry magpie who took massive Umbridge to Sprout laying down in the sunshine which had literally preceded a massive downpour half an hour earlier.

My husband walked around the corner from work and collecting the dogs, I quickly signalled ‘FOX’ and he stopped, and then, like that, she was gone, as quickly as she had arrived she trotted back home until after dark leaving us all very bemused as to what had happened over the last 45 minutes.

Will she be back? ​

Be sure to check my website regularly for more Amazing Wildlife Blogs by Lucy and other guest bloggers.

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