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A crystal clear starlit night gives way to the morning garden etched by frost. The air feels fresh and welcoming as we walk out with the dogs. A Woodpecker’s rhythmic drumming resonates from the old oak at the top of the hill. This creates the feeling of anticipation – Spring may be some way off, but it is expected. Territories have to be established, defended and trumpeted. At this time of the year there is little noise to compete with the intermittent rattle that Woodpeckers can generate – at times there appears to be an echo, another bird drums it’s answer. The two birds swap percussion until one flies off in that curious bounding way to another tree, another territory.

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A village Vixen

January 3, 2014

January is the time for foxes to establish their territories. Most nights, especially those cold starlit nights, a vixen’s sharp regular calls cut through the air from the old railway line. This particular night the call was much closer. I assume that it may be rich pickings in the immediate post Christmas period – perhaps the remains of a turkey carcass or similar – which draw gem in. This is when I am pleased that we have wheelie bins rather than the old black plastic bags. As I lay in bed, I try and remember whether I have shut the hens in their house and having satisfied myself that this was done, drift back off to sleep.