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Where We Left Off:
There was a gruesome discovery on the property and it required some interaction with a rescue group to figure out how to handle the situation.
Foxes and Deer and Bears, Oh My!
There was one particular week where the neighbor was bustling with creature activity. It was like living in a Jim Henson movie, I swear. The elder humans reported bear and fox sightings, but Gus and I hadn’t seen anything. We were getting frustrated. Plus, Oliver wanted photographs of any evidence for the files. Up to that point, all I had photos of were fecal piles.
One fine day in July, Gus and I hit the jackpot. Mind you, the creatures move so quickly that I don’t have time to make sure my clamped telephoto zoom for the phone camera is perfectly situated or focused for the proper distance.
The Bear Moment:
Gus stares a lot. I’m in the habit of turning to see what he’s looking at and 99.9% of the time, it’s something I can’t see so I continue my conscious observations of the area looking for birds and squirrels or maybe a chipmunk. This time when Gus stared, I looked and had a Keanu Moment. “Whoa.” That’s when I saw the small black bear already across the road. I tried to take pictures through the border of bushes and trees.
What made it a magical experience was how the bear looked back at us. It had the sweetest little face. Surprisingly, Gus was fine with the distance separating him from the creature. Since the detective didn’t catch the bear on his property, there was no incident, thankfully. Gus would not have done well. He did not react the same way to the foxes.
The first fox I saw, Gus didn’t notice because he was in a lower spot eating grass by one of the entrances to Cheeks Moretti’s rock fortress. I can normally see above the rock wall fine except it’s summer now and the peonies and weeds block a lot of my view. I looked over to the expanse of the field and saw a fox in the middle of the yard. I tried to quietly move to take the phone out of my back pocket while simultaneously placing the peanut can on the ground so I could also take out my lens. Needless to say, the pictures (in the dossier below) are also pretty bad, but these happen to be the best ones I’ve gotten so far. This was a single red fox on its own. In the dossier following, you’ll see how we’ve tried to identify them.
On another occasion, Gus and I were in the junkyard when he had that particular look on his face again. I was already holding my phone out taking pictures of him, but I still needed time to turn it on and get the camera app working. I slowly turned and two red foxes popped out of the trail behind us and onto the trail of Bunny Hollow! It was so amazing!
A couple more times, I’ve seen the single red fox and a single brownish-grey fox which appeared to be the smallest of them. The brownish-grey one was the one crossing the road that Gus tried to chase the first time. Since we were close to the road, I had him leashed.
Gus successfully chased a larger single red fox a different time when I did not have his leash hooked up. He did end up running close to the road but stopped at the border of the trees and the fox got away cleanly. Fortunately, Gus didn’t end up in a scrape. I would not want to have to put him in the car, drive thirty minutes and then explain to the nice country vet what happened. Gus is not a great patient, but at least he’s not as horrible as Oliver. Anyway, cross-species fight avoided.
The Trash Panda:
That brings us to the neighborhood raccoon, aka “trash panda” as the kids say. I’ve gotten so used to seeing “trash panda” that sometimes I’ve forgotten the word raccoon. (*shame emoji*). Gus has taken a liking to sitting on a spot of the driveway wall which was Lucky’s Spot. Lucky was one of our former outdoor barn cats who was a total love. She would sit on that spot twice a day watching kids get on the school bus, then be there waiting for them to come home. It was so adorable. Now Gus has discovered what a great vantage point it is for seeing up the road in one direction. The other side is downhill so we hear what’s coming long before seeing it.
(Click arrow to slide 4 for video)
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(Click to slide 2 for video of Little King Meth House climbing up the building)
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This big raccoon would come waddling around the side of the decrepit building across the street. I was so surprised to see that it wasn’t simply going around to the back of it through the weeds. Nope. It went up the dilapidated stairs most of the way. Then before the landing, it would turn to a drainage pipe and scale that to the roof! It would then walk all the way across the roof and I have no idea where it went after that. There are holes in the roof so it may go down into the building or through a busted window somewhere. It was cool to watch and I got pictures of it one of the times.
Gus felt it was appropriate to name him Little King Meth House in the vein of Bob’s Burgers and Linda’s love for naming the back alley raccoons.
But wait, there’s more!
The day before Gus and I saw the two foxes in Bunny Hollow, we were in the Fairy Garden. Two baby deer and their white-tailed mama came out of the woods. The babies still had all their spots, but one was bigger than the other. The mama stayed on the Bunny Hollow trail while the babies came into the yard looking for food.
We’ve tried our best to document the different creatures in the neighborhood. Oliver likes to take a “sniper’s vantage point” up on the observation deck though he’s unarmed. Here’s what we’ve learned about the foxes.
Dossier: Vulpes vulpes
Vivica B. Fox
Vivica is not solely a loner though she appreciates having time to herself. She’s a strong independent vixen with a spectacular red coat this season.
As noted in the previous case file, No. 12-116 code name “Day of the Falcon,” red fox Kirsten Killabrand is not one to fuck with. She will not tolerate spies of any species. Kirsten is running for Mayor of The 40 Acres, a position currently held by a pileated woodpecker who prefers to squawk loudly in hysterics rather than calmly sit in for diplomatic relations.
Kirsten does not mind making herself seen out in the open. She may hug the sidelines a lot, but she takes a minute to enjoy the spotlight in the center of the yard as the sunrises.
A diminutive creature with a speckled coat of earthy colors: grey, browns, and white. She may grow into a red coat, but for now this toned-down blend provides ample camouflage from the paparazzi. Unfortunately, as she left the protection of cover under the trees and crossed the street to enter the Winchester-Nabu estate, Gus spotted her.
I tried to get the camera out to take her photo, but Gus was pulling like a Clydesdale on his lead. Foxy was small for her species, sure, but still… why on earth was Gus riled from fifty yards away and ready to wrestle her into submission?
(No photo in the file yet)
Johann Nepomuk von Fuchs
Johann occasionally saddles up besides Kirsten Killabrand. He’s intelligent and adept at chemistry in particular. His other specialty is something that the Winchester-Nabu Detective Agency could utilize if he was willing to meet with us. It’s mineralogy. Plus he hailed from the lineage of Bavaria which means his ancestors were probably part of the family’s original exotic zoo along with the wolpertingers. Clearly the environment and scientific innovation are important to Johann. When he pairs up with Kirsten, they make a tenacious team.
I hope you enjoyed our lengthy creature and wildlife update. We’re still patrolling daily so there could be more information for the files if I ever return to 5:30am wake-up calls. The other cool thing about such early rising is that we can watch the bats return home.