A Fox Climbs Our Fence, A Coyote Trots By, a Bumble Bee Bites Plants and Other Tales of Nature: Part 1

Peggy and I were sitting in our library downing an English muffin and a bowl of fruit on Friday morning when a movement outside caught my attention. A fox was climbing our eight-foot deer fence after a Stellar jay that was hassling it. Once again we found ourselves in a zoo looking out from our comfortable cage. The fox climbed down, made its way through our shrub garden, and climbed under the fence. I took this photo right after it climbed under the fence.

We weren’t fast enough with our cameras to catch the fox climbing the fence. We sat there in awe for too long. But fortunately, the fox was having a leisurely morning and hung around for a few minutes..

Given its reddish color, my first thought was red fox, but its black capped grey tail and climbing ability quickly identified it as a grey fox. Grey foxes are the only ones that climbs trees (and apparently deer fences). They have even been known to raise their families in tree dens high above the ground. We catch glimpses of them occasionally on our property but normally they are secretive. One time, we watched a doe stalk one, following along behind, carefully raising and placing each hoof. That was neat.

My guess is that they have a den (or dens) on our property. The male and female raise the kits together. For the first couple of weeks the mother tends to her babies while the male hunts and supplies food. Our experience is that they form a close bond. A few years ago a fox was run over on the highway below our property. Each night we would hear its partner howling down on the road. Only when I went down and buried the fox did the howling end.

The fox plopped down in our driveway for a brief rest. I suspect he was on his way home after an early morning hunt. (Photo by Peggy Mekemson.)
He then looked up at us. Note the short legs. The literature says that’s what allows foxes to climb trees.
And then he was off on the hunt again.

Having enjoyed the fox, it was only appropriate that we would see a coyote as well. We met up with it last week as we were hiking in the forest behind our house. It seemed as curious about us as we were about it.

It came trotting up through the forest and didn’t see us at first.
Then he stopped and checked us out. I thought it looked quite regal. The coyote stared at us for a couple of minutes. I thought it might continue up toward us but it headed off in the other direction, stopping every few feet to look back at us.

This is hot off the press, and it isn’t about Covid-19. Woohoo! I was skimming through Apple News this morning and I came across an article that bumble bees bite plants. How could I not read the article? Had the plants somehow irritated the bees. Was there a bee-plant war going on? No, there wasn’t a war. The bees depend on the pollen from the plants for their survival. But they were irritated. The plants weren’t blooming and providing the pollen. So the bees bit the plants to speed up the process. Apparently it cuts two to three weeks off the wait period. I rushed outside to see if I could spot a bumble bee biting a plant. No luck, the flowers were already blooming. I did catch a couple of photos of bumble bees harvesting pollen, however. I conclude my post with them. Bzzzzzzz.

Bumble bee harvesting pollen from the clover that grows in our back yard.

NEXT POSTS: Tomorrow I’ll take you window shopping in Venice. Thursday: Part 2 of nature tales. Among other things, you will meet a Buddhist lizard.

33 thoughts on “A Fox Climbs Our Fence, A Coyote Trots By, a Bumble Bee Bites Plants and Other Tales of Nature: Part 1

  1. There are insects that rob plants of their nectar, too. I can’t remember which ones, but they ‘drill’ into the plant and suck out the nectar without helping out with pollination in the process. It’s quite a world out there!

    • It’s certainly a bug eat plant world, Linda. 🙂 Then you have aphids that suck the life out of plants and ants that farm and milk the aphids for the sweet juice they produce! –Curt

  2. My neighbor is an old sheep farmer. He is in his 90’s and still works with sheep, though every once in awhile he crosses the rode to solicit a little help. 🙂

    Anyways, he tells this tale of how the coyotes sent a female in heat into his farmyard to lure his dog into the Mosquito Refuge where they killed and ate it.

    That is downright diabolical.

    Though, the one thing coyotes cannot handle is donkeys. Everyone around here who raises cattle or sheep has a donkey or two and walking around, it not unusual to spot smear in the grass with chunks of bone and fur scattered about after a donkey stomped a coyote into the turf.

    • I’m pretty sure that your moral here, Greg, is never trust a female in heat. I once watched my female greyhound try to lead a chihuahua into a quickie. Needless to say, her low hopes didn’t work out.
      As for donkeys, they sometimes use llamas around here with sheep. They can do a pretty thorough job on a coyote as well! They don’t work so well for bears and cougars. 🙂 –Curt

    • The gray foxes are found throughout Florida, G, but they are more common in the north than the south. They tend to be a bit on the secretive side and are out and about more in the night, early morning and evening. –Curt

  3. Wonderful Curt. You two sit at home and watch these beautiful animals.
    It is fantastic. I have never seen a Coyote in the wild and never seen a grey fox.
    We get quite a number of foxes in the forests in Sweden and there are always some crossing the property. Red ones.😊

    Miriam

    • Red foxes are relatively rare around here, Miriam but the grey are equally beautiful and fun to watch. And both are intelligent animals. Given that our property backs up to a million acres of national forest, we are part of the natural territory of a number of animals and many seem to choose to live on our property. We’re lucky! And entertained. Thanks. –Curt

    • It certainly seems so, Peggy. And we are just about guaranteed that something will be happening outside any time we look out our windows for more than a few minutes. Who need television? 🙂 –Curt

  4. That fox is a cutie, for sure. I’ve seen one last week, crossing the road while I was driving, but that was really skinny, I guess not much game. Nice entertainment😉

    • Plenty of food around here, Christie! And the foxes and coyotes help keep a balance. For example, recently there has been an explosion of ground squirrels— lots of cute little babies running around. Too many! I’m rooting for the fox who I am pretty sure has a mate and kits to feed. Nature, doing its thing. As for entertainment, hard to beat! And never boring. Thanks. –Curt

    • It helps to live on the edge of a million acres of national forest, Alison. 🙂 But, in addition to that, our property is naturally friendly to the woodland creatures, sort of like a sanctuary. Nature just gets to happen. –Curt

    • Thanks, Kelly. It’s so nice of them to hang around and let us take their photos! As long as we are quiet, they seem to be as curious about us as we are about them. Or, they just go on about their business as usual. –Curt

    • Laughing at that Andrew. We have more than our share of baby white oaks around, although I tend to leave them given that our property is more or less natural except for right around the house. Plus, the young trees usually get eaten. In fact, just about everyone around here likes to eat acorns including tree and ground squirrels, deer, bears, turkeys, etc.

    • I always have a camera handy, Sylvia. We never know when a new one will show up, or we will get new insights into their behavior. One of my problems is I gat so excited with what they are doing, I forget to take a picture. 🙂 Thanks. –Curt

    • Yes it was, Arati. I consider it a privilege to live here and watch the wildlife go about their daily lives. I am always seeing something new. Yesterday, I watched a ground squirrel running around rubbing its neck on trees. It must be a form of scent marking out territory. I’d never seen it before. Something new every day. –Curt

    • Laughing, Rusha. I have to confess that I have always been a lot more worried about two-legged creatures as opposed to four-legged creatures. Ifr I haven’t been eaten yet, given all of the time I’ve wandered around in ‘hollers,’ the odds are I won’t be. 🙂 –Curt

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