Saturday, September 16, 2006

Fox History

I first observed a red fox in the habitat on January 2003 at 9:45 AM. Wearing his quite impressive and bright winter coat, he walked up the front drive like he owned the place. Then, he simply sat down on his rear. Honestly, I had never seen a fox sit like that - but now know it to be rather common. He stayed 3 minutes (I know his arrival and departure times from the magic that is digital cameras). He simply left the front driveway and walked between the two houses, then broke into a trot through the backyards.

Although I continued to see a random fox or two at night while driving within a mile or two of the habitat (and there was the all too frequent road kill), it was another year before one appeared in the habitat again. It was a bright sunny afternoon in February 2004. I was watching as a doe (female white-tailed deer - more on the deer in later posts) led a young deer (several months old at this point I am guessing, but still noticeably smaller than the doe) out of the pine stand in the habitat.
What happened next was quite surprising. All of a sudden, both deer took off running. At this point, I noticed that a fox is chasing the young deer. As the two deer ran up the habitat and towards the houses, they split, each going a different direction. The fox continued to chase the young deer. As the young deer went through a patch of scrubs and trees, the fox broke off the chase. The fox slowed but was still running as he entered the nearby woods. The young deer continued a hard run through the meadow and into a different section of the woods.

As I do not believe a fox would really attempt to bring down a deer (even a young one), I suspect that the two deer, as they were walking out of the pine stand, simply passed a fox. As they saw the fox, they took off and the fox instinctively chased.
All of the photos in this post were taken in January 2003 with a fairly primative Nikon Coolpix 950 camera. In a later post, I tell you about the pair of foxes that were frequent visitors to the habitat this past summer. And, I do have some great photos. I'll even describe another fox-deer encounter. But, that is another post.
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