Winter Comes to East Finchley

Dear Readers, on Sunday the snow that the rest of the country has had for weeks finally arrived in London. I still find something magical about it, the way that it covers up all the imperfections for a while, the way it falls so silently. It seems to put the birds into some confusion though: for a few minutes they disappear, as if trying to work out what this white stuff is, and then they’re back.

Starlings queueing up in the hawthorn

Male chaffinch on the sunflower seeds

Female chaffinch and goldfinch

I had been saying that I hadn’t seen a blackbird in the garden this winter when, as if by magic, one appears in the cherry tree next door.

But then the magic really happens.

This beautiful, well-fed little vixen puts in an appearance. She sniffs out all the suet we’ve thrown down for the birds and then goes for a wander.

Occasionally she spots a bird and decides to try her luck.

But mostly she’s just pottering. How do I know it’s a vixen? Because females squat to scent mark, while males raise a leg. She’s in beautiful condition. Look at that lovely long fur.

I wonder if I’ll get a portrait, and then she looks up. Look at that face. She has absolutely made my day.

14 thoughts on “Winter Comes to East Finchley

  1. Fran & Bobby Freelove

    What a beautiful fox, and you were so fortunate to get all those amazing photos. Our male has no brush and a limp!, but he’s very special to us.

    Reply
    1. Bug Woman Post author

      She is exceptional – most of the foxes I see have a limp, or a touch of mange, or an eye infection. City life is very hard on the poor things…

      Reply
  2. Anne

    Beautiful snow pictures. The sighting of the fox is indeed magical and immediately brings to mind these words from ‘The Thought-Fox’ by Ted Hughes:

    Cold, delicately as the dark snow,
    A foxโ€™s nose touches twig, leaf;
    Two eyes serve a movement, that now
    And again now, and now, and now

    Sets neat prints into the snow
    Between trees, and warily a lame
    Shadow lags by stump and in hollow
    Of a body that is bold to come

    Reply
  3. Alittlebitoutoffocus

    Welcome to my ‘white’ world! (I’ve just shifted another ton (probably literally) of snow to get to the post box (which is conveniently located near the road – for the post lady obviously. And more and more is expected this week. It’s a good way to keep fit though! And, yes, that fox looks wonderful.

    Reply
    1. Bug Woman Post author

      Ours has turned to ice now, which makes the side roads like a skating rink. I’ll be staying in till the temperature goes up I think, I don’t want to go breaking a wrist and having to go to A&E when they’re overwhelmed with Covid patients…

      Reply
      1. Alittlebitoutoffocus

        Ah yes, positive temperatures… I remember them… from last year…! Luckily, while the air temperature might be, say, -5 C, the sun makes everything seem a lot, lot warmer. (E.g. see pic 11 from my post today – Jude is sitting on her coat on that bench and she could have happily stayed there like that until the sun went down – around 2.15pm). Anyway, the sun melts away the cleared roads or paths and the extremely dry atmosphere here evaporates most of the water. So the roads and paths (for the most part) are clear and dry. ๐Ÿ˜Š

  4. Claire

    Your pictures are wonderful, especially the fox. You are so lucky to see them in your garden. We donโ€™t get to see them in town, here, although they( and deers and red squirrels) are common in the woods and park. Gardens here are all walled, that is probably one of the causes. We often get to see smaller animals : hedgehogs, tortoises( probably escaped pets) and weasels or martens. And birds…I saw a wagtail( pied, I think) this afternoon, walking boldly among a crowd of pigeons in the middle of a square in the city centre.

    Reply

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