Foxy, have you been framed?

By Chris Barringer

While we are all struggling a bit with self-isolation, supermarket queues and delivery slots, this current situation does give us all time to sit and enjoy nature. Spring is on its way; there are buds breaking on the trees and blossom is bursting. It also seems that our planet and wildlife are taking a deep breath and enjoying the fresh air, less traffic and peace and quiet. No aircraft overhead, the roads are empty, the Solent is empty of sails and there are no motor boats crashing around the Solent and Medina.

We live in a residential area in East Cowes, not far from the Norris Castle and Osborne estates, so have always enjoyed quite a range of visiting wildlife. Our small, enclosed garden is full of birds and an occasional red squirrel, and we have nocturnal visits from foxes, badgers, hedgehogs, and a very handsome tabby cat.

Wildlife seems to be increasing. Last week a neighbour found a pheasant on her patio, and we were woken in the early hours by two young badgers having a very noisy bundle in the middle of Hefford Road, before being disturbed and scampering off towards New Barn Road like a couple of naughty children.

Interested in knowing what is currently visiting and digging up the borders, we occasionally put out a wildlife camera and have seen our various visitors enjoying the night time. But we now have a mystery. I put the camera out last week, tucked in the bushes in the back garden, went out next morning to find the camera had disappeared. We have a six-foot fence, locked gates and no obvious access. So the only conclusion is that the fox has picked up the camera and taken it off over the fence and home. I’ve known foxes take shoes, gloves and even wellington boots, but a camera seems a bit unlikely!

We’ve searched the garden and checked with neighbours to no avail. So if anyone in the Hefford Road, Old Road, New Barn Road area finds a wildlife camera, please let me know. There could be some interesting foxy home movies on it!

Photo credit: Peter Trimming