We have been fortunate to live during lockdown in a very rural location in Cumbria, UK and equally fortunate to have a sizeable garden. During these months the countryside around us has had far less footfall than usual and wildlife in general has thrived. Normally seeing a fox is a rare event although, alas, we are often aware of the hounds hunting on the fells. This vixen became a frequent visitor to the garden, initially eating birdseed, but then the dog food we put down for her when we became aware of her condition, as she became very thin and it was obvious she was feeding a litter of cubs. One day out walking I saw her cubs playing outside their den in the sunshine, undisturbed by humans. I was able to photograph them with a very long lens. She came earlier each evening to our garden until I was able to photograph her, usually from inside our sitting room, in daylight hours. In this picture she could make me out inside the room, but was happy to keep an intense, wary stare fixed on me while she ate.
Over the next few months a few cubs would accompany her to our garden and play there, but none became as bold. She still continues to come during these dark, cold nights and hopefully she will have another litter next year. I feel very fortunate to have experienced these encounters with a justifiably wild and wary creature.
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Clare Disano • Editor