Fox in the grass.
Monday – 6th June: The North Pond has been quiet, again, during my visits to the marsh this week. The two mallard families, with the sixteen chicks between them, might have moved on to pastures new – I haven’t seen them in over a week. There is one hen and one duckling on the pond at the moment, with a drake in regular attendance. I can’t help wondering if this hen and duckling are the originals, but maybe the duckling is too young. I would like to think that, against all the odds, one of the original pond ducklings had made it, but I think this likely be wishful thinking. The truth of the matter might be that this little duckling is all that is left of the two families with the sixteen ducklings – I hope not!
I think that the marsh fox family might have moved to another area of the marsh, also. Activity at the den on the knoll seems to have ceased: perhaps the den had become too obvious. The cubs have turned the ground in front of the den into a mini desert, and there are far too many pigeon feathers scattered about the place, advertising the presence of the foxes. Judging by the amount of kill waste around the den, I suspect the vixen of not being very keen on housework; she is probably too busy hunting for herself and the cubs. I have seen the cubs out trying to hunt, and they are looking a bit on the skinny side.
The north pasture was quiet this evening – again! A buzzard circled above, a few pigeons flew about, I did see a green woodpecker, and a pheasant called from the other end of the pasture, and that was it! I thought I saw a fox in the long grass, in the distance, on the other side of the pasture fence, but I wasn’t sure. The grass is now long enough to hide a fox – there are still a few areas on the pasture where the grass is still quiet short, but these are disappearing fast.
I surprised the old dog fox in the long grass close to the swamp; he quickly put a comfortable distance between us, before he stopped to see what had startled him – foxes nearly always do this.
It’s the elder trees and bushes, giant hogweed, cow parsley and foxgloves that are flowering now on the marsh and in Hoo Wood. Honeysuckle in on its last legs; there are still a few new honeysuckle blooms, but these are few and far between. There are still numerous buttercups, red campion and herb Robert along the trackways.
The surface of the pond is now beginning to cloak with weed and other aquatic plants. I think the surface is about to erupt in a show of various colourful blooms, the first of these being amphibious bistort in the water and the second being flowering rush on the banks.
The photographs in the slide-show below, the ones with the date and time imprinted on them, are taken with an infra-red camera and the photographic quality is not as good as that of my DSLR camera.