Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Golf Fox

We sometimes see a fox run through the woods behind our house.
I'm always surprised at how slender they are,
how long and dark their legs, 
and how noisy are the sounds they make.
One spring a couple of years ago,
we were awakened several nights 
by male foxes barking to attract female mates.
It was the first time I'd ever heard foxes bark,
 and they were raucous and persistent.
Thankfully, such impassioned fox barking
is an uncommon occurrence under our windows, 
and it's been awhile since we've seen foxes in our woods.
But they've been seen elsewhere, sometimes in unusual locations.

My husband is an avid golfer, 
in part because he enjoys the opportunity it gives him
to be outdoors in nature.
And a local golf course where he frequently plays 
has afforded him a chance to see wildlife on more than one occasion.
Specifically, there is at least one fox--or more--  
that has assigned itself the role of course mascot:

Earlier this spring, along a treeline on the course,
my husband saw a mother fox playing with two of her baby kits.
More recently, he saw her teaching one of them how to hunt.
He said she would first crouch down 
and then the kit would follow her lead.
Then she laid low and stalked a squirrel while the kit watched,
and later the squirrel was the guest of honor at their luncheon.
Here a fox follows a golf cart:

And just last week, my husband reported
that a young fox came out from the woods, lay quietly,
and watched the men as they teed-off: 

Here it is in profile,
apparently deciding the ball is not lunch-worthy:

As far back as the 11th century in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles,
foxes have been described as clever and cunning.
So maybe the foxes on the course are just lulling the golfers
into a false sense of security
before they start stealing golf balls, driving the carts away,
and inviting the slowest golfer to be the guest of honor at lunch.
But such behavior would be crazy
--like a fox.

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