I have a dog who watches TV and aeroplanes – at least, she did when she was a puppy. By behaviour, she should be classed as a sighthound; her vision isn’t as detailed as mine, but lacks nothing in detecting movement. Sometimes we play a game where I hide a toy and instruct her to locate it – then, she uses her nose, standing tall, sniffing the air, but it clearly isn’t her preference.
Foxes aren’t scenthounds either, or even sighthounds. Mostly, they hunt by hearing. I once saw an ambling male suddenly cock his head, march twenty yards through dense grass, and leap on a rodent. This is a map in audio beyond our human experience.
But this morning, for the first ever, I saw a fox following a scent.
The behaviour was mistakable. He followed the trail through the frost, doubling back, scentmarking, studying.
Sometimes he stopped, head high, sniffing the air.
Naturally, he soon had an audience.
He was hunting – but not for food, I suspect. The fox breeding season in the UK peaks right now, and no doubt he was intrigued by the scent of a vixen.
He was still looking for her when I left.
nice little narrative, Adele … I’ve never seen a fox hunt by scent, either. Most illuminating.
Hi DW, the great thing about foxes is that you can watch them for decades and still be surprised 🙂
Lovely sequence of shots, and trust the magpies to put in an appearance 🙂 Looks nice and frosty too, and thankfully not much wind today either.
It’d be great if we could have two weeks of cold frosty sunshine. It was lovely this morning but has clouded over again. I would happily live without rain for a few months!
Magpies, they like to be a salt in every soup, eh? 😛
That’s a new expression for me! 🙂 As far as the fox is concerned, they are like a tax on food. They have to have their cut of everything…
I didn’t realize how much foxes relied on sound when hunting.
Have a happy 2014!
Thanks Deb, same to you 🙂
Adele, our Spenser is definitely a scent hound! He doesn’t miss a thing! Especially if it’s food!
Yes, I can imagine! 😆