Ant Hill Mob

A few weeks ago as part of tidying up the garden we dug out a long-standing ant-hill that was in the middle of the lawn. The ants weren’t too happy, but they’d had a long run of several years undisturbed and it was time for them to move on.

The lawn has now recovered with some re-seeding, and the ants – so it appears – have found a perfectly good new home. This was the sight that greeted me when I opened our compost bin earlier in the week.

ant colony with pupae

Ant colony with a huge number of eggs pupae. The dark areas are
tunnels leading down into the compost bin

You can clearly see the tunnels they are building down into the compost, a little bit like a hive. There are a huge number of eggs pupae (larger than the ants) on the surface, plus some large winged ants, though vast majority are the standard small worker ant. I’m trying not to disturb them too often as once daylight hits the surface they go into a frenzy of moving everything.

ant colony with winged ants

There are several winged ants among the mass

ants moving pupae
ants moving pupae

Close-up of ants and eggs pupae

The major problem with the colony is that they make the compost more or less unusable, so we may have to start again entirely. The ants are safe for the time-being!

Camera note: all photos taken with the Canon 1DX Mark II and EF 100mm f/2.8L macro IS USM lens.

edited 20/6/19 to correct references to eggs to ‘pupae’
Posted in Ants, Insects, Wildlife Tagged |

More on the fox cubs

The fox cubs are growing up (slowly), and I’m beginning to get a pattern of behaviour. There’s one cub in particular (a male) who follows Wolfy around a lot. The others seem more reticent so although I know there are at least four cubs, as you can see here, generally there is only one or two in the garden at the same time.

Wolfy with four of her fox cubs – (photo 29/4/2019)

Two fox cubs playing chase

There is one particular cub (a young male) who tends to be the boldest, and who follows Wolfy around a lot. Most of the recent photos are of him.

Keeping close to Mum

A rare daylight visit

Wolfy, meanwhile is working very hard to look after her brood. Here she is eyeing up our hedge for nesting birds. She didn’t attempt to climb it (though foxes will climb trees if the incentive is sufficient).

Wolfy investigating a hedge where sparrows may be nesting. Note the cub at her feet, watching!

Look before you leap!

There is a second adult fox, but he never shows himself when I’m there. The nearest encounter is this photo when he was watching carefully from below the fence line as I photographed the bold little cub. Wolfy was further in the garden, just out of shot.

Fox cub, with adult fox in background keeping watch through the fence

Finally, another portrait of the little fox.

Smiling fox cub

Camera note: all photos taken with the Canon 1DX Mark II. The night shots were with the EF 70-200mm f/4.0L IS II USM lens. I used the EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM for the daytime shots.

Posted in fox cub, Foxes, Wildlife Tagged , |

Fox Cubs 2019 edition

Well, Wolfy has finally shown up with some of her cubs. So far the night camera has spotted three fox cubs, though I’ve only seen two of them when I’ve been out watching with the camera. There may be more. It’s very difficult to tell at this stage as their visits are intermittent and quite brief. I’m also being fairly cautious with the camera so as not to spook them. At this age they don’t really know I’m there, but sudden noise or movement will have them running for cover. So these are grabbed shots, but some of them are quite cute. Fox cubs are always cute, so it’s difficult to go wrong!

Here’s a handful of the early shots, taken over a couple of nights, to enjoy

fox cub

They are likely 6-8 weeks old. And so small!

fox cub and vixen

Asking mum for food!

fox cub

Exploring the garden

fox cub

fox cub and vixen

Fox cub with Wolfy

Finally a brief video clip from the trail camera. It’s Wolfy with two cubs and a surprise interloper!

Camera note: all photos taken with the Canon 1DX Mark II and EF 70-200mm f/4.0L IS II USM lens.

Posted in fox cub, Foxes, hedgehog Tagged , , |