Fleet: Exit Stage Right

Last night, as is our habit when we have a roast chicken for Sunday dinner, I put out the chicken carcass. This is not just food, this is M&S food. Well, actually it’ was free range Waitrose food. 🙂

Having watched Limpy take his or her time [I’m not good at sexing foxes] over some Aldi pork slurry sausages, we were keen to see how it dealt with a whole chicken carcass. Hoping to avoid blasted local cats, I put it out shortly before 23:00.

I’m having trouble sleeping [Brexit trauma] and, sad git that I am, I lay in bed for some time doing easy-peasy grade sudoku puzzles. A little after midnight, I did peer down from the bedroom window but couldn’t actually see the carcass, though even with a fairly bright moon I couldn’t be sure.

This morning I loaded the five 20-second video clips that Foxcam had recorded.

No CarcassMy first surprise was that I could see no sign of the carcass on the first clip, timed at 23:58, centre screen in the patch of light. On playing it, neither did I spot anything that might’ve triggered it.

I could see that there was a fox in the next two clips recorded 35 minutes later. The final clip showed a fox in the garden at 05:51, a little surprisingly. That was timing we’d not seen before.

Showing Francine the complete absence of chicken carcass, I played clip #1 again. This time I noticed a fox’s brush disappearing at speed behind a Hydrangea at the bottom of the garden. It took 4 or 5 frames [⅓ second] to disappear completely ¿Que? Darwin, it was fast! This had to be our fox making off with the chicken carcass, surely.

Fleet of FootHere’s the very first frame from that first video again. I’ve circled the location that the carcass had been in. I’ve also lightened the shadows considerably and circled the now much more visible fox, exiting stage right. Think about this for a while: that fox had to have entered the field of view of the PIR, get to centre frame, pick up the carcass, scoot down the garden and scarper. The Bushnell trail cam didn’t start recording until only the brush remained visible. Slow or what?!

Fox ComparisonFoxy returned 35 minutes later and sniffed around the garden again. I could detect no limp as it moved. Hmmm? I looked closer. Comparing previous clips, I could see that Limpy has a slight white tip to the brush which this fox appeared not to have. I could also see that the dark markings on the muzzle were clearly different – more extensive on this apparently new Fleet-of-Foot visitor. Here’s a comparison: the brush tips aren’t visible but the dark muzzle markings are.

The early morning visitor at 05:51 did prove to be our original fox, Limpy. He sniffed around where the carcass had been but, alas, went hungry on this occasion.

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Posted in 2021 Fox Tales

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