Yesterday Scrappy and I took off about 7:40 am in order to miss all the joggers and soccer-istas. Following the north edge of the meadow, we entered the woods at the second entrance. As we approached the paved part of the trail we saw an IPFW truck sitting just inside the woods. Either he was posted to watch for early morning poachers or was just trying to smoke a breakfast joint. When we were about 15 yds from him (and he saw us and began to back out), a buck appeared right between us about 30 ft into the woods. Of course, Scrappy was oblivious (for the time being) but the deer was not, and immediately took off.
We went up the ravine trail, and actually descended to the ravine floor for the first time. At first, Mr. Boy was excited to go on the new adventure; after a few yards, however, he was ready to go back up to stick his head in all the groundhog holes. (which reminds me that I should mention for the count that we also tracked one of them I think Monday.) Coming out, we decided to take California down to the river. Along the way, we went down what appeared to be just an opening to the creek that Tina discovered the other day. We quickly found out that it was the start of a network of trails all along the creek, possibly all the way to the river. It opens to the creek bank in at least 3 spots, and at one of them Scrappy got a drink and dipped his foot in (finding it too cold: it was 51.7 F when we left.). By the time we reached the river, a low mist was rolling across it with the sun just over the top of the scene. It was so cool we made Laurie get up and go with us today (which we'll get to in a bit). Retracing our path, we decided to take the dry stream beds that criss-cross the woods down to the creek north of the woods bridge, cross the creek twice (with Scrappy going in weenie-deep as usual) and coming up in the dry bed we had discovered last Sunday. This trail took us close enough to the buck's path that we immediately went careening through the woods on the path he'd took a half-hour before. Eventually, Scrappy came to the conclusion that he had, in fact, lost the trail; and after another 2-3 minutes of tangling, tripping, and running me through every spider web on the west side, he gave up the chase.
Last night, we went for a shorter neighborhood walk, and saw a deer cross the street into are back yard and on through the fence row whilst we were on the other side of the park. This was shortly before 8 pm.
This morning, with Laurie in tow, we set out on what would basically be the same path. If you look at the map post ("Mr. Beagle's neighborhood") you'll see that there is a projection on the woods on the far north end of the meadow. We were nearing this when I saw, up at the main wood's edge, a fox, tan about like this gentleman. Then Laurie saw movement at the projection's near edge, and there was his partner, much redder with a black tail tip. He ducked into the projection as his partner did into the woods. By the time that we'd gotten halfway down the projection, the red one came bounding out of the far edge, took a quick look at us, and bounded back again. Scrappy saw him this time and tried to go after him. By this point, Mr. Tan had peeked out of the woods again as well, and slipped back into the woods.
On the east side of the woods where it gets narrow about halfway to the third entrance, we spotted another deer. It was a small one, probably one of our fawns, though we never saw spots (he was too backlit by the sun). We made our way down to the river, which disappointingly was without the mist from yesterday. Coming back, we even took Laurie down the criss-crossing of the creek. She was not as fond of this, as the last crossing is a bit steep in a grab-branches -and-step-on-roots sort of way. We came out of the woods and onto the trail, and soon saw another fawn, this one definitely spotted, not far from where we just came out. Total mileage each trip: around 2.5 miles.
Now, I had seen last year a fox out the bedroom window one night, but this is the first time I've ever seen one that close. Our toteboard for the year now includes 34 deer, 5 groundhogs, and the 2 foxes.