The fabulous Mr Fox.
It is finally changing from the serene scene of the last few days to a gritty, grubby mess underfoot. The Big Thaw begins. During recent times, I, however, have been more interested in The Big Paw. One of the great joys for a wildlife gardener of all this snow business is that The Wildlife cannot trot around undetected anymore. I woke one morning to what I imagined would be the perfect blanket of snow in the back garden the other day, only to discover that The Wildlife had already been up and about for several hours, kicking up the place, having snowball fights and generally messing up what I had hoped would be a pristine scene.
The birds put out delicate prints, many of which ended pitifully at the open porch, where they must have sought shelter and warmth from the worst excesses of the weather. There are some slightly strange and worrying prints that look like a snake had gone through the snow, but I suspect may have been something unspeakable, small and furry, so I shall just pretend I didn't see them, they are a tad too close to the back door for my liking. But the great delight are the foxes' footprints. At last, a full account of what they get up to after I have gone to bed at night. And they get up to a lot. Back and forth around the garden, right up to the cat flap, probably sticking a nose in to see what's what indoors, a bit of digging here and there, then along the pavement (well they wouldn't want to get run over in the road) to next door.
I decided, in best old-fashioned tracker style, to follow the prints and see where they went. So, strapping two tennis racquets to my boots, donning my best faux beaver hat, I tracked up and down the road. Then the next road. And the next. The footprints were sometimes delicate and sometimes the foxes appeared to be perfecting their downhill ski movements. But of course I have to admit that eventually I was foxed. I hit a brick wall which the fox had apparently somehow managed to get through or over or something. I could merely wonder at how large a territory these creatures of the night move across.
Icicles on wallflowers.