I sat on a log close to North Pond insect hotel, pondering nothing in particular, watching a B H gull basking in its own reflection. I rarely sit and ponder when on the marsh, unless I’m eating my lunch. I’m usually more interested in what might be going on around the next corner, and most of the time I have somewhere to go and something to do.
Gulls are a common sight in skies above the marsh, and sometimes they are seen waddling about in the pastures, or along the muddy riverbanks. I don’t recall seeing any floating aimlessly on North Pond, which is really the realm of moorhens that scoot into the reeds at the slightest noise or movement. It crossed my mind that this gull could easily become a fox’s dinner if it wasn’t careful. Behind me, a rustle in the undergrowth caught my attention. It was Red Dog, the north marsh fox, creeping towards the pond and using a large willow log pile as cover. The gull paddled slowly, unaware of approaching danger, and began turning ever so slowly towards the middle of the pond. The fox climbed the log pile and poked its head over the top, seeing the gull moving away, he jumped silently to the ground and ran full pelt for the pond bank. With one mighty leap the Red Dog launched himself at the unsuspecting bird. Although it was indeed a mighty leap, he hit the water short of his target. The gull, acting out of pure instinct and a surge of adrenalin I suppose, used its feet and wings as paddles and made a desperate break for the opposite bank, leaving the fox well and truly out of his depth. The gull hit the bank running, shook itself, squawked, and powered itself easily into the air and safety, escaping none the worse for its near death experience. The fox, however, was left paddling in the pond, smarting at the loss of its dinner I suspect.There is more test digging going on around the north marsh, suggesting a vixen is indeed about to den. Whether she digs her den in a place I will be able to find in another matter. There are many dozens of mole hills on the north marsh, which Red Dog will rely on over the next few months to provide moles to feed his vixen and cubs. When The cubs are weaned, Red Dog and his vixen will hunt pheasants and rabbits together.