Tuesday, 31 January 2012
The beginning of the year can be hard and unforgiving, but this year so far, has been the exception rather than the rule, until now, when subsequent weather forecasts seem to be predicting a bitterly cold month ahead with sub-zero temperatures.
Despite this the foxes were in fine voice last night, in sharp contrast to the stillness around them.
December to February is the breeding season when they are at their most vocal and this year is no exception, they can be heard calling and squabbling amongst themselves at various times throughout the night, often some distance away when their high-pitched cries can sound almost eerie.
Fox gestation period is 52 days and cubs, numbering 4 to 5 are born in March or April.
I'm lucky enough to live backing onto a small nature reserve where fox numbers are healthy and growing year on year. It's true that many are becoming less wary of human contact and one is bolder and more curious than the rest. Almost certainly it's one of last year's cubs, in peak condition, with a wonderful red coat and bushy tail and amber eyes that glow like the coals of a fire.