Ever since we moved into Adams Towers two years ago, foxes in the garden have become a common sight. Their visits increased since our dear old Cocker Spaniel Molly died last year, and now the appearance of a fox barely warrants a mention. They drink from the bird bath, they trot across the lawn, they appear from underneath Lauren’s playhouse, and they snooze in the bushes to the side of the garage. I’ve just finished watching one tuck into the remains of a roast chicken (no bones) on the patio.

Squirrels are everywhere and I’m almost guaranteed to see at least one everytime I look out the window. My frolleague Aidan once described them as “rats with good PR agents” – personally I think they’re entertaining. They’re also very bold – while eating lunch in the kitchen one day a squirrel climbed the railings next to the back door, and then sat on the kitchen window sill and looked in.

We also see a lot of birds – when the foxes aren’t drinking from the bird bath there’s often a queue of our feathered friends waiting to use it… usually robins and great tits, and the occasional fat pigeon. A couple of times I’ve seen a green woodpecker, quite a sight with his bright green plumage and red head. Also common are the striking jays which lends me to disagree with the RSPB’s decscription – “jays are actually quite difficult to see… they are shy woodland birds, rarely moving far from cover”. Whoever wrote this should come and spend an hour in our kitchen.

Last week I received an IBM Thankyou award (thanks James) and I selected some binoculars. They arrived yesterday morning, and I went upstairs to try them out, thinking that there might be a fox or two in their normal spot in an overgrown area in a garden backing onto our’s. No foxes… but there was deer. Quite a surprise – deer are normally herd animals, and although I might have given you the impression that we’re out in the wilderness we’re actually only half a mile from Camberley town centre. After a while the deer disappeared into some bushes, but about ten minutes later it re-appeared, this time with two more deer. Where they came from I don’t know. This was a first in two years.

Amazingly there was also another first yesterday. About 23:00 I was playing FIFA ’09 on the Wii in the games room at the front of the house, when suddenly the front security light went on. This isn’t unusual, and I looked out of the window expecting to see a fox. But there was something else… a badger… an extremely well-fed badger ambling up the sloped lawn (probably a bit miffed at being rumbled by the security light). I called the wife, but by the time she’d paused Ugly Betty the badger had shuffled off into the night. We know there are badgers around because planning permission on a piece of land nearby had been turned down because it was home to a badger sett.

Given that badgers are almost totally nocturnal and are much more wary of humans than foxes are, I think this will be a rare sighting… but hopefully not the last.

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