There was a fresh snowfall overnight so when Lyra and I headed this morning out all of yesterday’s foot and paw prints on the lawn had been gently softened out. We yomped enthusiastically up and over the hill and down to the road expecting to find a blank slate on which to write our wanderings. It seemed though that we were late to the party. The road was a mass of tracks. We identified rabbit, deer and pheasant but there were also a few mystery numbers (rats from the ditch?). Clearly there was some sort of rave going on in the little wood. Tracker mode became the order of the day. We picked up a pheasant track to start off with and headed down past the wood. As we turned east along the field we were able to add hares to the tally. We turned up at the drainage ditch to see if there was anything near the opening of the big den that could settle the badger/fox debate. However there were a mass of overlapping prints there which were hard to unravel, we pressed on.
I spotted some fox prints crossing the road so we decided to follow these. These were fairly fresh prints, still crisp at the edges and clearly made since the last snowfall. These took us along the northern edge of the field then up over the hill along the edge of the deer wood. Close to the hedge bird prints rambled drunkenly in and out and back on themselves. Five partridge blasted their way out of the hedge as we passed, helpfully identifying the larger prints for me. I put the smaller ones down to the blackbird which was eyeing us from inside a hawthorn thicket. Curiously, the fox, hare and rabbit tracks generally stuck neatly to the path of the field margin, only occasionally circling out into the field. Every now and then there would be a sort of frenzy of tracks going in all directions. I was mulling over one melée and noticed that the hare tracks had stretched out, with huge gaps between the foot falls. This was where it had picked up speed to sprint away from the fox tracks I realised. I was pleased as punch with this insight and positively preened the rest of the way up the slope.
We came down to Butterlaw through the deer’s stubble field. I counted five very young deer along the hedge line. They wavered, watching us for a while before disappearing through a gap. At the corner there is an old ash tree with a big burrow under it and I wondered if the snow might help us identify its owner. Like the field burrow though, there were so many prints it was hard to unravel. We did though find some larger prints heading down the road toward Tom and Sue’s house. Definitely not dog or cat (though I did find also Buttercup’s prints making for Sue’s door). Is Foxy Loxy or Brock the Badger staking out Sue’s chickens I wonder??? Turning back at Butterlaw House a final print puzzled me for an instant before I worked it out. Showing it to Lachlan just now his guess was “Dragon”. See what you think…
Coming through the field we added cow to the print tally and gave Wonky Wendy a friendly back rub. I also observed that Peter Rabbit had left an incriminating trail leading to Keith’s broad beans. It’s all go out there…
One thought on “Magua redux”
Ha ha I did see cat paw prints this morning in the fresh snow as I opened the front door to let Buttercup out after she had spent the night asleep on our bed! 😂 I think the prints were those of Oscar (I call him Oscar Wilde) he resides in Simons shed but calls over to ask for more food after already having had breakfast at Simons. Of the other prints I am not at all sure but I do hope foxy is not stalking the chickens!! Though they are reluctant to come out into the snow and spend the morning in their house.