In the Woods - UPDATE October 29, 2018

Checking dens on this gray, non-rainy afternoon.Foxes groomingFoxes grooming

Jewel's deep den that she, Fern, and Herbie dug in the sand in fall 2012 and spent that winter was empty. It's about 8-9 feet long with a nice sandy bowl at the end. The picture just shows the innermost half of it. Jewels den 2012-13Jewels den 2012-13Nobody has used it since the family emerged from it in the spring of 2013.

On to Donna's secure den under a big mossy boulder that she and her yearlings used in the fall and winter of 2008 and 2009 (Skeeter and Scooter) and in the fall and winter of 2011 and 2012 (Willow, Wendy, and Wiggins). Empty.

Gray fox sniffing Beaver with willow Gray fox male
Foxes sniffing Beaver building Male fox lookiing after female

Out the window and about 240 feet away, a beaver was active this afternoon, cutting a willow from the shore and swimming the small bush to its lodge for an underwater food cache for the winter. It was headed for the newer lodge, not the lodge that is over 40 years old across the lake.

Donnas old den Donnas old den Donnas old den
Donna's old den

Also out the window, the pair of foxes were interacting nicely even though mating season is not until late winter/early spring. They must bond year-round. The female was gently grooming and licking the male's neck, and the male sniffed her hindquarters. When she left, the male, who often ignores mere humans, looked in her direction and eventually followed. This might be the pair that raised pups under the front deck a couple years ago.

Thank you for all you do.

Lynn Rogers, Biologist, Wildlife Research Institute and North American Bear Center