The temperature dropped rapidly on Saturday and by early afternoon, the snow had started. The feeders were really busy and I filled some three times.. as if the birds sensed that the weather was going to deteriorate and that they needed to stock up! It snowed pretty much solidly all afternoon and by the time I went to bed, there must have been around 5cm of snow here. I knew that this was the best chance for me to find out where my foxes were coming from, going to and possibly where their dens are.
This morning , I was up early. There was still quite a lot of snow on the ground, although the rising temperatures during the night had meant it was already starting to melt… I didn’t have long! I set off across the fields, on a mission… to follow some of the fox trails back to a den!
The field next to the house was completely covered in fox tracks… with at least five individuals racing all over the place, it was going to be a challenge to follow these!
The first thing I did was to make my way to the den entrance I found before… the one I have a wired camera on. I have taken it off my live streams as there has not been much action there. I captured a couple of shot with the Bushnell, but little else. There was one set of tracks there… but did not look very well used….
I headed back along the hedgeline, following several track in the snow….
These led all along the edge of the field, under a fence and along the entire next stretch of field….
You can just see my house in the distance in the photo above… the track were still going… further away from the house, down towards the next lane. I kept going, down through another field and across a lane. I knew where these foxes came from; I was getting closer to Badger Hollow and when I walked my dog near there last week, I saw two foxes sitting in the early warmth of the summer sun. These tracks were leading there. Clambering up a bank and into the area of badger hollow, I crept forward, watching carefully. Just as well I had, as a brief flash of russet caught my eye… a fox! I had just the briefest glimpse before it disappeared…… yes disappeared… down a hole! I had found a den! I carefully crept up to where I had seen it disappear… I don’t think I would have ever found this hole if I had not seen the fox use it. It was well hidden in tussocks of grass….
I carefully looked all over this area, including where I had seen the two foxes sitting earlier in the week. There was another hole, also with tracks. Another site for my Bushnells next week I think!
Of course, whilst there, I went over to the badger sett. Although there had not been much activity last night, there had been some. There were some nice badger tracks in the snow….
Ther had been some digging very near to the sett and then lots of muddy tracks back into the sett…..
I was really pleased to have found all that I had, and began to head back home. I took a slightly different route, following some other tracks and looking along another hedge edge. As I neared home, I headed for another den I have looked at before. This looked promising! There were a number of fox tracks coming in and out and the entrance looked somewhat more enlarged from when I checked it a few months ago….
I went and grabbed the Bushnells and set them up to monitor this den….
I am sure that all the fox individuals I see each night on my cams are related. I guess they are all last year’s cubs. They will have dispersed and found their own dens. They often react as if they have not seen each other for a while… low posturing, wagging of tails and then sibling-type bickering and fighting. There is rarely any true aggression, which there would be between foxes that were not related. It will be very interesting to see if my Bushnells pick up any further activity. I will leave them until Wednesday morning. I may then set them up at badger hollow and try to capture some daylight footage. So much going on around here… just not enough time to do everything… and blog about it!