As is often the case on Wilden Marsh, the best way to see animal activity is to stop, look, and listen. This is exactly what I did one evening earlier this week, when walking through the Tenant Farmer’s Corridor towards the North Pasture. I heard a pheasant’s warning squawks nearby, and thought them likely due to the north marsh fox being out and about looking for his dinner. As if by magic, whilst opening the North Pasture gate, my eyes fell upon Red Dog’s head poking out of a bramble bush. The pheasant’s and the fox’s concentration was so focused on eachother that they paid me no heed. I closed and leant against the gate and settled down to watch the situation develop.
Each time Red Dog pushed his head out of the bramble bush, the pheasant’s squawking volume and pace increased to fever pitch. The squawking only eased when the fox retracted his head. Eventually, Red Dog gave up and walked nonchalantly away down the corridor, stopping once in a while to sniff the ground and air. As the distance between them increased, the squawking decreased correspondingly.
The north marsh fox looked forlorn as he walked past me at the gate. His head hung low, almost scraping the ground, he stopped and looked back at me before sneaking a crafty glance at what could have been his dinner. I have to say that I felt sorry for the fox – it will soon be his mating season and he’ll need all the energy he can muster. The pheasant gave a half hearted squawk, and being aware of a pheasant glut on the marsh at the moment, I answered it. Red Dog slunk off into the depths of the Flooded Wood Pasture. The pheasant returned my squawk and I increased the shouting match until I heard the final throttled squawk as Red Dog’s jaws tightened on its neck….