Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Like foxes on the run

We've seen some interesting wildlife in our neighborhood in the 32 years we've lived here in what's now called Midtown Raleigh. When first we came this neighborhood was up on the north side, but as folks have moved in, the city has become part of a sprawling metro area. Our wildlife in our first years included the occasional doe who lost her way from a nearby greenway, and for a long time we had an annual visitation of ducks and Canada geese hunting for a lake two blocks to our south that was drained years ago when the dam got sketchy.

Two years ago we were joined by a hoot owl whose profile we occasionally would catch in the dim evening and morning light. And in June an impressive hawk took up residence briefly in a towering pine in our backyard. We met some of our new neighbors while standing in our driveway with binoculars trying to figure out what it was. My money was on a red-tail hawk, but that may just be because I like the sound of "red-tail hawk."

A few weeks ago we heard from a neighbor two blocks over that foxes had moved in and that they were becoming aggressive, with a harsh, high-pitched bark. I thought nothing more about it until this morning's early morning walk. Sadie, a French Brittany Spaniel, and I were walking up the hill when we heard what I thought was a terrier with a summer cold hacking at us. Sadie whirled around and gave it her best big-girl bark, and the sick terrier turned tail and skedaddled. Only it had a long tail unlike any I had ever seen on a terrier.

As we came back around our neighborhood 20 minutes later, the gloom had lightened a little, and we stopped and watched in fascination as two foxes scampered silently across the street right in front of us and headed down toward Doc Whitehurst's place. It was too dim to see what color they were, but the tails told the tale. It reminded me of the Country Gentleman's bittersweet bluegrass lament about a lost love, with the poignant refrain, "Like a fox on the run."


Anonymous said...

what the hell? Where is Jack Betts? Who replaced him with an old man talking about going on walks?

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Anonymous said...

There was a coyote spotted in our neighborhood near North Hills last week.

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