A Foxy Walk in St Pancras and Islington Cemetery

Fox and Cubs (Pilosella aurantica)

Dear Readers, our walk in the cemetery today had a distinctly foxy overtone. Firstly, we bumped into my friend A, who told us that she’d seen the fox with the terrible eye injury that we’d both spotted a few months ago – all the fox has now is a pronounced sickle-shaped scar. What a testament to the resilience of wild animals! I honestly thought that the animal was probably doomed, but then the people in the cemetery, both staff and visitors, are very kind folk.  Apparently the fox was very interested in A and tried to steal her carrier bag, but wasn’t at all impressed by the handful of dog biscuits that she threw down – clearly this is a fox with more refined tastes! Anyway, we were both delighted to hear that he’d survived. Here’s a photo that I took when I saw him.

So it seemed very appropriate that the flowers known as fox and cubs (Pilosella auratiacia) were in full flower in many places in the cemetery today too. Otherwise known as orange hawkbit, these are stunning members of the daisy family, and quite made my day. The colour is always stunning, but today it seemed even brighter than usual.

So, what else is happening? Well, the bindweed is opening, and if it wasn’t such a thug I’m sure we’d all love it. A lot of pollinators, such as this hoverfly, are very fond of it too.

This cabbage palm had a spectacular show of flowers, and you could smell its honeyed sweetness from the other side of the path.

The hedge woundwort is in flower. I always think of this as being a most underrated ‘weed’. especially the way that it stands up in such a martial fashion, as if on parade.

There is a tangle of yellow vetchling (Lathyrus pratensis)…

a blooming of self-heal (Prunella vulgaris)….

an outburst of nipplewort (Lapsana communalis)

and on some of the graves, where the conditions are just right, there’s a carpet of white stonecrop (Sedum album) with its tiny white flowers.

But it’s funny the things that catch the eye. No one would consider sowthistle as the most delicate of flowers, but I was very taken with the tracery on the leaves of this one. Leaf-mining insects get between the layers of the leaf and leave these lacy pathways, without any obvious detriment to the plant. I thought that they were rather beautiful.

But the real excitement came when I dragged my husband along a mowed path beside the stream, while I looked for hoverflies. I had a strong feeling of being watched.

And so I edged my way along in slow motion….

And this curious cub just sat and watched my peculiar slow progress…

..almost as if s/he couldn’t believe all the shenanigans…

..until s/he decided enough was enough, and disappeared into the undergrowth. What a treat, though! And how adorable s/he looks, as if s/he hasn’t quite grown into her ears yet. I always feel such gratitude when I’ve had a close encounter like this with a wild animal. I will be cheered up for the whole week.


1 thought on “A Foxy Walk in St Pancras and Islington Cemetery

  1. Anne

    I appreciate the way you have gently led us into the highlight of the walk – a marvellous and very special sighting.


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