I believe there’s a fox in our neighbourhood. A sharp short bark, rather high-pitched, unlike that of any dog, woke me a few nights ago. And last night I heard a sound that could not have come from a bird or a fox –- it was more like a squeak, akin to the sound that a rubber toy makes when squeezed. Could it have been the rabbit, that I used to see in the late afternoon or early morning? Or perhaps the toad that had found itself a temporary home inside the pots where M’s loquat seeds have begun to sprout? The toad has abandoned its hideaway now, perhaps dismayed by the regular disturbance of a shower each afternoon when I water the seedlings.
Perhaps the fox has caught some little night creature, much like it managed, or so we suspect rather sadly, to grab the white chicken from next door. The other afternoon while I was watering the herbs, the neighbour’s white hen came strutting among the dried grass in the front garden, giddy with its escape from its cage, on the other side of our oleander hedge. Finished with the watering, I looked for the white hen, but it was gone. I thought it had gone back home. But the next morning I found quite a lot of white feathers scattered rashly under the pine trees. Oh dear. Poor chicken! Could it have met an untimely end with the fox? And that is why I suspected the squeaks might have been coming from the rabbit or the toad, being dragged by the wicked fox. Unlikely, said M, the squeal didn’t sound like it was made in distress. It was relaxed. Intent on judging myself whether indeed it was relaxed or not, I waited for the next squeak, but it never came. What creature could it have been?
The other night creature we often hear is an owl hooting away in the wee hours after midnight. These mysterious sounds from wildlife are so welcome. It is comforting to know that notwithstanding the houses and farms in our hamlet, there is still a thriving community of different wild creatures, other than the birds.
This morning a cool east wind has begun to blow from the coast, bringing what look like rain clouds racing over the mountains all around. Are we at last going to have the rain that was promised us several days ago?