On yet another trip to the compost pile, I encountered a red fox, sniffing his way along the west edge of our property. Spooked by my approach, he scurried over a six foot fence and disappeared.
Common visitors and former residents on our Littleton farm, red fox are most often seen at dawn or dusk, completing or beginning a night of hunting; to see one at noon is a bit unusual. I suspect our current cold snap has extended his period of activity, a subconscious reminder that he may be facing a long, harsh winter. Calories are vital during this season of frigid nights and heavy snows and our large populations of voles and cottontails will provide easy targets for this agile hunter.
Extirpated from the farm by coyotes several years ago, red fox are making a comeback since their larger cousins have been discouraged from settling in (see Unwelcome Squatters); unlike coyotes, we welcome the fox, attractive and nonthreatening agents of rodent control. Hopefully, they'll begin to den on the farm once again and our grandkids can enjoy watching their pups just as our children did two decades ago.