Close encounters of the fox kind

Flanders Moss NNR

The other day I had a close encounter with a fox, a very close encounter as it was only a few feet away and I nearly trod on it. I was walking across the moss, head down, mind elsewhere (strategic NNR communications if you must know)  and 5 hours into a 7 hour plod taking water level readings. Suddenly from right between me and my beautiful assistant (Finn the bog dog), with a rusty blurr and a rasp, a fox shot off behind me. Both me and the fox were shocked and not sure what was going on (the beautiful assistant was oblivious to all of this), my reaction was to jump and spin, his was to pin his ears back and flee like flaming lightning. It was only when my heart had slowed down and he had long gone that I worked out what was going on. And why a ‘him’? Well this is a bit of an assumption but it was a big fox and many females would be under ground with their cubs at this time.

There was a big dimple in the largest sphagnum hummock around and he had obviously plumped it like a bean bag and settled down facing the sun for a deep midday snooze. Because we had come up wind and he was deeply asleep he hadn’t heard us and only when we came level did he wake and see us. With Flanders surrounded by so many sheep farms with lambs, foxes are not popular in the area and are hit hard so the moss must have seemed like a bit of a refuge.

These type of wildlife encounters feel very personal, a one to one experience. I felt awful for disturbing him and apologized profusely to his retreating brush. But the closeness of a wild animal, the fluid speed of his retreat, the warmth still in the hummock hollow and the vivid red of his coat were a thrill to experience. So where does it leave us both? Well I will remember that fleeting encountered for a long time and I can only hope that he will get to use his bean bag hummock again on a sunny but more relaxing day.

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1 Response to Close encounters of the fox kind

  1. Louis Gibb says:

    thanks for this and many previous blog posts

    Liked by 1 person

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