Wed 16 Apr 2008
This yellow journalism stinks, I said to myself last Wednesday morning upon picking up my San Francisco Chronicle at the bottom of the driveway. As I discovered with displeasure, one of the neighborhood foxes had peed on it.
Foxes are like that, marking relatively prominent spots around their food sources and dens. Last year, neighbor Jay Haas discovered that foxes were leaving their scat on top of the fence posts between his property and mine.
Campolindo Road is a foxy neighborhood. Gray foxes periodically take shortcuts across my deck at night, and several of us on the hill have seen red foxes during the day.
Today I stopped in Point Reyes Station to photograph the Sir George Mallory of chickens, who can often be seen trekking along Highway 1 downhill from West Marin School.
“Why do you keep climbing through the fence?” I asked Sir George. “Because it is there,” he crowed. I urged him to be careful, remembering that his namesake had fallen to his death while making a third attempt to climb Mount Everest. “You’re probably also worried that the sky is falling,” Sir George clucked and went back to pecking.
As for blacktail deer, which every day forage near my cabin….
Does chewing their cuds in the shade
West Marin is in the fawning season. Susan Sasso of Olema, who rehabilitates sick, injured, and orphaned fawns for Wildcare, six weeks ago took in her first fawn of the year. Its mother had died in childbirth.
But the greatest threat to blacktails — as it is in the short term for Sir George Mallory chicken — is the motor vehicle. “Night travel on the road is dangerous,” writes Point Reyes Station biologist Jules Evens in the maiden issue of The West Marin Review.
“Skunk, coon, opossum, and especially black-tailed deer are apt to appear around any curve. By day, one is assured of finding vultures feeding on the victims of our dispassionate, modern-day automotive predators — CRVs, 4-Runners, Humvees — twisted and splayed on the asphalt. The vultures gather in small groups, taking turns at the roadside deer dinner.”
So I ask you, friends, please slow down when you drive past Campolindo Road at night. These deer too are my friends.