September 10

A fox – at last!

Foxes are few and far between where I live. They are persecuted, dug, trapped, poisoned, hunted… removed from the countryside in any way possible. I feel blessed to catch a glimpse of one through binoculars half a mile away.

However it’s a totally different story in the orchard owned by my wife’s parents. Down in Kent foxes are much more prevalent than in my local patch of Lancashire so I decided to make it my mission to spend as much time as needed to see what I could catch of them.

I spent a couple of evenings watching their movement from our bedroom window which proved to be the perfect vantage point and then I staked out what appeared to be their preferred routes through the apple trees for a few evenings.

It didn’t take too long as the foxes appeared like clockwork for me about an hour before sunset. The cubs were the boldest. Almost fully grown they foraged and ate fallen apples before wandering into the recently cropped arable fields nearby.

On my final evening with them one young dog fox walked right towards me and only realised I was hiding under the tree when he’d got to within fifteen feet of me. At this point he stopped and stared at me with a quizzical expression for a long two or three seconds before slinking through the hedgerow.

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