Thursday, 13 May 2010

I'm Quarry Quarry...

I went for a walk by the sand quarries up on the hill. The air was heavy with the heady aroma of the Gorse in full bloom. The flowers smell of almonds. Although they're edible, I find them a bit bitter, but they are good for making salads look pretty.

There's been hardly any rain lately, the ground was dry and cracked. Normally these shallow silt bottomed puddles are great for finding animal tracks. You can tell what the badgers have been up to, and if the invisible deer herd has come through recently. I say 'invisible' because I see tracks, hair, nibbled foliage, mangled saplings from bucks rubbing their antlers, their mud hollows, and flattened areas where they've slept, but never ever see the deer themselves... Invisible, the only explanation!

As I made my way along the edge of the quarry, I got the feeling I was being watched. There was no one there, hardly anyone ever comes here. The occasional rustle, crack of a twig, but as soon as I turned to look... silence. The buzzard was up on the hill, surveying his world from his lookout post. He'd got his eye on something, he was staring at a dense patch of gorse behind me. Suddenly, spooked, he flew off. I got the feeling that I was being stalked by something.

The day was pleasant enough, but there was a nagging cold north wind. I headed down into the old woods where it was more sheltered and strung my hammock up in my usual spot between an ancient Yew and a young Oak.
I settled down with a flask of coffee and a great book... Running with the Fox by David Macdonald.
Every so often I heard a noise in the undergrowth. There was definitely something out there.

Then my pursuer showed himself. It was my old acquaintance. This isn't one of the foxes from the family of foxes that I go to see each night and feed. This is a good number of miles away.

We met last year when he came to investigate the smell of the bacon sandwiches I was cooking. We met a second time when I was scrambling to the top of a steep grass incline, and he was coming up the other side. We came nose to nose, paused and went quickly our separate ways. Since then we see each other from a distance, sometimes he barks to me to let me know he's seen me.

He's become used to me being around, and realises that I mean him no harm. Curiosity gets the better of him and he'll come to have a gander sometimes.

This wood is deserted, as well as the quarry and so he seems comfortable to spend a lot of time out in the daytime.

Once he ascertained that there were no bits of bacon to be had, he was off to catch some more voles.


JessRaquel said...

I'm so jealous of your wildlife encounters! I hope that one day I too can make friends with the foxes.

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Outhouse Capital of Canada said...

I like your fox hunting method, in the comfort of the hammock.

Preetha.M said...

Good blog. You had a wonderful experience.
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Nyssa said...

WOW! That must have been so amazing. I hope it was just the flowers you eat on the Gorse as I know how prickly that stuff is.

Lavender said...

Im so sure bacon beats voles
Thanks for taking us on your walkabout Mate!