The Foxes Rise Again – As viewed from tower block in Greater London.
Against all the odds the vixen I’ve been watching for the last year has another two cubs and is sunning herself in the field opposite my home. She has brand new cubs, just two, this year.
I watched the family over the last twelve months and heard her screaming at night recently. I did some research and found that this was the mother forcing last years cubs out of the family home to fend for themselves. Reminds me of my relationship with my own children when they hit the teenage years… Just when are they old enough?
However, each day I’d look out the window and see all the cubs again playing together until a few months ago. Then suddenly the mum appeared to be on her own and looking a bit shabby and pregnant. I do admit to seeing a squashed fox or two on the road, so I’m assuming at least two of the three cubs from last year did not make it to maturity.
These new cubs look very healthy and playful.
The fox’s fur coat is red, it shines against the green grass. I watch as the new cubs play on one side of a fence whilst the mum rests, curled up, under a bush on the other side. Another fox, perhaps the father, strolls around the bushes where the female lies.
She will do well if any of her cubs survive. I wonder if the father will stay around for long this year. Last year he appeared to hang around for a couple of months.
Mumma fox’s den is in a tiny enclave just down from the muddy bank which leads onto the A41. This vixen has little land to roam. What she has is between the A41 and M1 and around a mile of small, busy roads to deal with between. The fox family don’t have to worry about other wildlife. There are the local dogs, which are generally on leads on the other side of the fence, plenty of pigeons, gulls and some Red Kytes.
From my watching position I see the grey feathered backs of several wood pigeons flying over the foxes. The white stripes with black tips, on their wings, make them look like road chevon’s. These birds are not worrying the foxes. The cubs continue to play and enjoy the fleeting sun on what is a rather cold May day.
I see no Red Kytes today. They are scavenger birds of prey. They are spectacular to watch in the skies from here when nearby. They have the same red colour, a gleaming reddish brown as the foxes. Kytes have markings across their backs too, although not the same as wood pigeons. When they open their wings and glide nearby the black markings can be seen clearly and are unique to each bird.
The young foxes chase each other around in a circle, turning quickly and bundling on top of each other. Their white bellies showing whilst they scramble with each other to be on top, just for a moment before turning and chasing starts up again. They chase each other again around the fence nearby to where their mother lies resting.
The father continues to sniff around the enclosure. He seems quite large compared to her and eager to check out the facilities. There isn’t much, if they are brave and fast enough, they could jump over the railway tracks, which are open here, and across the dump to the Sainsburys carpark. However, this is where I saw dead fox last so this is not a recommendation.
Other than that, I have seen families across the way throw food out over the fence which the local cats, birds and foxes all seem to enjoy. There is a fluffy, white cat which loves to hunt around down at the other end of the field. I’ve never seen the cat and the foxes meet each other.
I watch as a car pulls up, on the road side of the fence, feet away from the stalking male fox. The car’s contents spill out, laughing children and adults, who then pile into the little square house in the middle of the little square houses. The hedge hides the fox from the families view and the fence is between them.
The fox listens, his nose in the air, facing the car and his ears waiting to tell him if he has to run or not, whilst the vixen still lies curled up in the bush she knows she is safe, he has yet to have the same faith in the environment. He waits until the family are all inside the house before circling back over to where the mother and the babies lie.
Life is always moving; I go to make a cup of tea in the kitchen and when I return all the foxes have gone. Perhaps the family is settling down for their lunch or off on an adventure somewhere. I will look out for them most mornings and will see them grow. I’ll watch the vixen go through her circle of life. Long may it continue as foxes are so much fun to watch.
They remind me that life is so different for each and every living thing. Not all beings are born with a purpose or a need to leave a mark, they live and die without mention. They enjoy the world without being told how to appreciate it.
The foxes are happy and content to live on the little bit of land they have managed to grab for themselves. The mother appears to feel secure whilst the male is ready to disappear and let her get on with it. She will do her best to educate the cubs and then she will replace them.
Her family unit lasts for one year. I’m privileged to be able to watch. Whilst fox hunting is banned in England, she will continue to live without too much fear of humans. I hope that fox hunting is never brought back to our countryside. To me, it would be a step backwards, a step towards becoming more uncivilized again.
Let’s continue to watch the fox.