Vasch the Fox

Vasch sends Greetings. Maybe. It’s tough to tell with gray fox.

I’ve written about our resident wildlife. Recently we were visited by Vasch, a mature male gray fox.

Vasch the Fox

 
We’ve had several gray fox visit over the past few weeks, Vasch is the first to share his name with us. I’ll admit to being a little confused at first; translating from Hrycuna, the major gray fox dialect, to Human and then to English proved more of a challenge than I thought (I haven’t spoken Hrycuna regularly in several years, my bad, that).

In any case, it took me a few turns to make out his name when he shared it: “Vaschti? Vayetzch? Fhasaietch?”

Fortunately, Vasch was patient with me. Probably figured talking with me was the price of being in our backyard.

We suspect there may be females and if so, kits. We’ll let you know.

Agnes, Francesca and Bill

Somebody’s following those fine looking ladies

I wrote about Agnes, our resident wild turkey, a few posts back and that Agnes brought along her friend, Francesca.

Well, things were obviously pretty good at Chez Carrabis because the other day we woke up to see Bill out there with the girls.

Bill the Turkey
It’s Bill, not William. Just Bill

I didn’t know we had any mature Toms although I shouldn’t have been surprised; any Tom would be drawn to the vicinity of two such attractive ladies.

I went out to greet him. When I asked his name, I thought he said “Roger” (probably some errant chipmunk not getting enough seed).

“I bet your pardon?” I said.

“My name’s Bill.”

Being polite, I said, “Hello, William.”

He quickly corrected me, “It’s Bill, just Bill,” and he held out a wing. He had a good, firm wingshake. Obviously a bird of business, a serious bird, one to be dealt with squarely, probably good with a bread&bourbon stuffing.

Bill harrumphed at that and joined the ladies.

That’s Agnes in front at her seed pile. Francesca’s in back. Bill comes in about 12s in

Agnes and Francesca

Some fine lookin’ ladies, these.

I wrote about Agnes, our resident wild turkey, a few posts back. The past few days Agnes has brought along her friend, Francesca.

Agnes and Francesca
That’s Agnes in back. Francesca’s in front.

Agnes, on her own, is quite cordial and talkative with us. She waddles up to the porch windows, stares in, warbles to get our attention then walks back to her spot (where we put seed out for her and her alone. She does dine with Francesca. We suspect they have a history) and scratches the earth to let us know she’s out of seed.

Demanding little hen, yes?

Also quite protective. A while back a chipmunk went after her seed. When such occurs she performs what we call “The Chippie War Dance” and sometimes “The Fluff and Run”.

I prefer Chippie War Dance myself (and please excuse the blurry image. Wildlife photographer I am not).

We expect Francesca will be more directly communicative shortly. Especially as she realizes Agnes can ask for and get seed from us with little more than a warble, wink, cluck and scratch.

But as I wrote in Nothing Ever Dies of Old Age in The Wild, one will discover things in The Wild that one wishes one hadn’t.

Nothing dies of old age in The Wild

Case in point, about a week back I noticed that Bess wasn’t joining her mother and siblings when I put out peanuts, dog food and cookies. I saw her in back, under cover, in the dark.

I called to her and she didn’t move. I talked to her and walked towards her, a cookie in my open hand so she could see it, and tossed it in front of her. She barely came forward and wasn’t able to hold the cookie in her paws. She couldn’t get it to her mouth and I knew then that something had happened, that she was injured and probably wouldn’t last.

The past four nights Heckie, Sheldon, Veronica and Porgy have joined us in the backyard, but no Bess.

And yes, I mourn.

But nothing ever dies of old age in The Wild.

Save

Agnes

It’s the way that she move, the things that she do

I mentioned in WildLife – Heckie, Sheldon, Veronica, Porgy and Bess that we have lots of wildlife in our yard. We encourage it. People who knew me in my NextStage days will remember my frequent posts about one such creature, Agnes the Turkey.

Well, she’s back!

She came back in Spring with her flock and we hadn’t seen her since. We thought she’s moved on/passed over (Nothing Ever Dies of Old Age in The Wild).

And then this morning, as I was sipping some coffee…

Heckie, Sheldon, Veronica, Porgy and Bess still come by nightly, as do Larry and Phil (two adult male raccoons, brothers, we think, and no pictures yet) and Ponchie (an opossum pup, this year’s litter by his size and also no pix yet).

I’ll share more as time allows.

And the Agster, the Aginator, Agnes who keeps our hearts warm and true, is back.

Heckie, Sheldon, Veronica, Porgy and Bess

Children, playing in our yard

I’m taking a break from submitting and writing to do some writing.

Busman’s holiday, I guess.

Some readers may remember the NextStage Evolution Facebook page. It’s long gone and it was probably best known for the wildlife pictures and stories there. Susan (I mention her on the About Joseph page) and I have been working with the wildlife in our backyard going on ten years at this point. One of our regrets about taking down the NextStage Evolution Facebook page was taking down all those wildlife photos.

Over the years we’ve worked with raccoons, skunk, opossum, deer, northern and eastern woodlands coyote, red and gray fox, turkey, fisher cats, bobcats, various owls, bumblybees, hawks, spiders and I’m sure I’m leaving some out (please forgive me).

I’ve written about the wildlife interactions in several places. Perhaps best known is Nothing Ever Dies of Old Age in The Wild (republished on Discover The Practice). Much of the wildlife in our yard have learned to take food from my hand. Bart, an owl from a few years back, would perch in a nearby tree when I was grilling and wait for me to toss him bits of meat (don’t tell Susan. She always wondered why some steaks shrunk so much when I grilled them).

The wildlife still comes. There hasn’t been as much this year. We had two regular racoons, Hecate and Deneb, and never saw any trace of other wildlife. One year we had 19 racoons in our yard, three skunk, two red fox and their kits, some gray fox and their kits, a deer, …

But not this year. I asked Hecate where all the racoons were and she said, “There are three of us.”

I didn’t know what she meant. Did she have two kits? Were there only three adult racoons in a woodland area that once supported racoon colonies?

A few nights later Hecate and Deneb were eating some peanuts and yep, a third racoon, Leopold, came forward. Shy at first, then getting right in there with his peers.

Then we saw Kirkpatrick, an amazingly healthy northern coyote.

We’d been hearing coyote for several nights (quite soothing) and wondered if that explained the dearth of wildlife.

Then we saw some gray fox and a bob (sorry, they’re quite shy. No pictures yet. Haven’t even told me their names).

Okay, that variety of predators, perhaps few scavangers have made it to Fall.

Then Olivia the Opossum showed up (again, no pix yet). The next night she brought her partner, Max (nope, both shy).

And then