Mar 30, 2009

Sixty-Eight Deer and a Red Fox

With the lengthening days, I have actually been able to return to home before dark. This evening as I drove down Beaver Dam Road, dozens of vultures were circling the northwest-facing mountain preparing to roost for the night. Driving across Canoe Creek and turning onto Scotch Valley Road, I watched as a red fox darted across the road into piles of stored construction materials. I pulled the car off the road and watched the field, quickly realizing that I was being watched by the fox. Approximately 100 yards off, his face was dark, but the large pointed ears were aligned to pick up any noise I made. Within seconds, he trotted across ten yards of open field into the lumber and pallets, disappearing from site. Last week I had heard a fox doing its scream-like bark at one in the morning. Every ten seconds or so, it would let go with this hoarse, high-pitched bark, apparently identifying its territory or perhaps courting a lady friend.

Excited by the sighting, I drove slowly through Scotch Valley towards Frankstown. First, a deer jumped across the road. Two more moved silently out of the brush and crossed behind the car. Next five more deer were spotted. Then eight in a field. The numbers added up quickly with eight here, thirteen there, five in that field, and a few more there. The last sighting was the most spectacular. I had passed the Scotch Valley Country Club and cut through to Turkey Valley. As I crested the hill, the field to my left was filled with deer. After two counts with binoculars, twenty more deer were seen. The final count was sixty-eight deer.

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