Thursday, 29 May 2014

This year's cubs

'Our' vixen no longer comes visiting. Maybe she's been driven off by a younger fox, or perhaps she's dead. She was at least five. I so miss the way she used to sit gazing at us through the patio doors as if waiting for a welcome in. I miss the way she used to introduce her litter of cubs to us each year, sitting proudly in the centre of the lawn while they played around her.

But there is a new fox family this year. The mother is much wilder and more nervous and the cubs have so far not ventured far out of the bushes. But it's nice to know there are some not far away. Apologies for the poor quality of these snaps but they were taken from a distance of about 100 feet!

Tuesday, 6 May 2014


Saw my first swift of 2014 today. Looking back, I can see that the period between May 6 and 15 is when they tend to arrive in my area. Earlier when the weather is good, like now, and later when it's bad. But there was only one. Was is a scout? Will the rest of the group arrive soon? A couple of years ago, I was lucky enough to look up into the sky just as they were arriving in a wheeling, shrieking crowd of two dozen or more. I saw them last year as they were preparing to leave. I love the way their calls graze and scratch the air like beaks on a blackboard. I thrill to the miraculous dart and wheel and flick and turn and speed of their flight. They truly are the acrobats of the air.