Early evening in the field out in South Middlton, Skye and I were headed home after a long walk on the trail. I don't know why, but I happened to look out across the field, which is easily 5 acres, when I noticed the unmistakable ears of a fox. Truly, my eyesight is not that good, but for some reason, these ears just seemed very obvious! I actually laughed at myself, because at 55, the senses no longer work as well as they once did, but damn! I spotted a fox in the wild.
I tied the dog up to a tree stump on the edge of the field and walked in several yards to get a closer look. The ears flattened, then sprang up again, and the fox's head came in view. The color of dirt and about the size of a small cat, it didn't look like much. It was a very young fox, a kit. But I had to stop walking closer. It was clear that I was really distressing the kit. It didn't know whether to freeze or make fast tracks for the nearby den, whether to flatten to the ground or bolt. I could feel its fright and inexperience, so just made a visual note of where it was in the field, and decided to turn back. I could come out another day with field glasses.
I untied Skye and we finished out walk.
When I got home I visited several websites and learned that it could have been either a grey or a red fox kit, and that there were probably up to 7 others, hidden in plain sight. This one was most likely only 4-5 weeks old, and he wouldn't get his lovely coat for several more weeks. And also, Reynard mom and dad were probably very close by, maybe even watching from the trees along the trail. Kits spend a lot of time alone during the day, but both parents stay nearby. The evenings are for fox frolicking, which is a family affair.
I remember waking one night during the summer to yips and yelps outside my open window. I got out of bed, and crept to see what was up--in the moonlit yard, 5 kits roughhoused and rambled, tumbling together, while Mama Reynard headed into the salt marsh.
I watched for several moments while they tumbled behind her, everything an adventure. It was a sight I'll never forget!
When I whispered "hello", they stopped abruptly, looked up at my window, then ran after their mother in a red blur.
So Reynard's baby in the field is a welcome sight.
Perhaps this is a kit from the fox we saw last May running through this same field.
Or perhaps I've been bewitched by trickster Kitsune and her wonderful, sharp, dirty face.