We were sitting at the table today, enjoying a break from cleaning house to chow down on a little lunch that included more of those delicious cherries. I sit on the side of the table that faces the backyard and the golf course beyond it and my eyes frequently wander there, watching the golfers going by or the mockingbirds chasing the spittle bugs that have appeared in the grass. But today there wasn't much going on thanks to a mid-morning shower.
I think it was the movement that caught my attention, although it was just a blur at first. My first thought was that it was one of the dogs of a neighbor down the way who often uses a racket to hit tennis balls down the fairway for the dogs to retrieve. She's really not supposed to, even if there isn't much play on the course, but she does. What it looked like was a dog scrambling for the ball and almost over-running it and ending up in a somersault. Then I thought...the neighbor doesn't have a dog that color. I think that's a fox! I said to Wayne and we hurried to the sliding door.
Sure enough it was; we could see his bushy tail and long nose. He was standing at that point but clearly holding something down with his front paws. And he kept looking around. I thought he might have been waiting for a second fox, either a mate or an offspring, to appear but none did. Wayne thought he'd caught a bird because we kept seeing mockingbirds dive at him but I think they just recognized him as a predator. He was on the far side of the fairway, probably 100 yards from us so it was hard to see just what he did have.
Then he picked up his prey and started trotting directly toward us...and we knew. He'd caught a squirrel. That's pretty impressive when you think about it, catching one out in the open like that. Obviously what had looked like a somersault was him changing directions to run it down. The squirrel must have zigged when he should have zagged and the fox emerged victorious...and with dinner. Off he jogged toward the woods beyond the No. 5 tee.
We don't see many foxes on this side of the neighborhood. In fact, we haven't seen nearly as many foxes anywhere in the neighborhood like we did last year, although I have seen a pair of them around No. 18 green as I'm finishing up my walk at dusk a couple of recent evenings.
I was tempted to run out and yell Way to go! at him. Not only did I appreciate his hunting skills, I loved the fact that his target was exactly the animal I'm trying to eliminate. But I figured such an enthusiastic display would probably frighten him and I'm hoping he'll come back. Not only do I welcome all the help I can get in ridding the area of squirrels but it's nice to have a little entertainment with lunch once in a while.