Red Fox in the Morning

Sometimes I wake early my brain whirling with thoughts and plans, going back to sleep is not in the cards.  Through the years I’ve learned when this happens it is better to get up and begin the day.  Actually, I cherish these quiet, early morning sojourns.  They are a gift of time to do exactly what I want; read, write in my journal, plan a project, or simply sit in the rocking chair watching out the window at life on the lake.  A lot goes on outdoors at the crack of dawn.

This morning I chose to rock in the comfort of the old wooden chair.  Its arms show years of wear, especially the right one where the dark wood stain has been rubbed pale yellow.  At 5:00AM I heard the newspaper thud as it hit the garage and purr of a car engine as it moved through the neighborhood making deliveries.  This time of year summer solstice is only a month away, through the light gray early morning dawn I spotted eight  Mallards working their way along the shoreline dabbling and dipping beaks underwater to feed.  Two stunningly beautiful Common Loons emerged from a deep dive and skimmed the shore occasionally rising, pummeling wings to preen.  These are the moments I love.

My mood changed when I spotted the pesky Bonaparte Gull rebuilding its nest in the tall spruce near the dock, we’ve discouraged this activity daily.  I made a mental note to take the broom and dislodge this new attempt, or better still, use the power washer.  “Go into the woods you nasty bird, leave our yard alone…” I muttered to no one.  We’ve had a long-standing battle with gulls, once the chicks hatch the adults become kamikaze dive-bombers attacking anything that comes near.  This is not what I want to experience every time I walk to the dock.

Suddenly a small reddish animal scampered across the lawn and stopped in its tracks.  A red fox!  Awesome.  My heart raced as I grabbed my camera, I hoped I had time to shoot a photo.  Fox are quick and do not stay out in the open.  I was amazed to see him slowly stalking in the direction of the dock, then stop again to let out a snarling scream that sounded like two cats hissing.  He screamed again, and again.  I’ve never heard a fox before.  The source of his rage was a owl decoy that normally resides at the end of the dock, it was moved to the lawn yesterday.  He continued to snarl and hiss at the ceramic, sand filled owl decoy.  Nervously circling he approached closer and growled again, the owl did not move.  All eight ducks were lined up watching this drama from the shore below.  The gull flew to the neighbors roof top and the loons dove appearing minutes later 200 yards away.

Finally bored with its inert threat, the fox sat down, took stock of the situation and quickly disappeared into the woods.  A splash of motion in the floating lilies revealed our resident muskrat who climbed onto a long and proceeded to dine.  You miss much by sleeping late.  Just a few moments in time early in the morning at the lake.  Life goes on.

Gail Niebrugge, Alaska artist

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  1. Wow what a great morning!

  2. It was awesome, thanks!

  3. I never cease to be amazed by the variety of wildlife at your lake, Gail!

  4. Me too !

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