Tag Archives: photograph

Four Foxes Frolicking in Gledhow Valley Garden.

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Four foxes appear in Gledhow Valley garden on 6 June 2018.   Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

I have mentioned the local Gledhow Valley foxes several times in my posts, but this is the first time that we have seen four at once in the garden, which backs on to the woods. There appear to be two young ones and two adults (or older siblings).

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Four Gledhow Valley foxes, with a lot of licking going on.   Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

In the above photo the foxes are licking themselves and each other and this seemed to go on for ages.

Joan and I have been provided with all sorts of entertainment by the foxes over the last few years.

Our next door neighbour used to put out spare ribs in their back garden.  One time a magpie was enjoying these when a fox came along and picked one up and went away with it.  The fox returned several times for others and the magpie became more agitated each time, finally bouncing around the fox in circles and squawking loudly, as if to say “Those are my spare ribs, get off them, clear off ! “.

Twice when we have had relatives here for Xmas and eating Xmas lunch in the dining room we have seen a rare event.  Looking out of the French windows there would be a fox helping himself to all the bread scraps we had put out on the low bird table, as if taking part in the festivities.

Foxes are territorial of course and I we have seen one on the garage flat roof marking his territory up there.

Of course, they are also hunters and we have seen one trotting up the garden, spotting a squirrel to one side and shooting off sideways to grab it in its mouth and then continuing on its way.

As hunters, our foxes have an annual run in with the swans on the Gledhow Valley Lake.  Several years ago we were walking past the lake at about 7pm in mid May when we saw a fox standing nose to beak with a swan, on its eggs on the nest in a shallow part of the lake.  A photographer, who was watching, said that the fox would not take on a swan on its own, but suggested that when it was dusk, several foxes could work together to try to get the eggs.  The next day there were no eggs.  Something similar may have also happened this year.

Foxes are wary of cats.  Avril, who lives on Gledhow Valley Road was once at the end our garden asking if we had seen her cat, which she said was quite shy and usually stayed in the garden.  It was a large fluffy cat.  The next day I saw a fox at the top of the garden just to the right of the huge oak in the corner.  It then backed to the right and a big fluffy cat came slowly from behind the tree, nose to nose with the fox.  The fox eventually turned slowly away and left.  When I saw Avril again she said she was not surprised as the cat was in charge of all her dogs, including a large Alsatian.

We have also seen the effects of mange on an adult fox, which we saw for some time a few years ago, and it seemed to survive.

The fox below appeared on 4 July 2018, and may be one of the four we saw in early June.

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Healthy fox in Gledhow Valley garden 4th July 2018. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

This fox was up and down the garden a few times.

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Side view of healthy Gledhow Valley fox. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Shortly afterwards, Joan was at the back of the garage with her watering cans and I walked down to the front and between the garage and the house only to come face to face with this fox.  It veered off and went between our garage and next door’s (a gap of about 8″).  I shouted to Joan “Fox coming through”, which of course meant nothing to her until it burst out at the top end of the garage.

And now for a different view of a young fox.

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Young fox in Gledhow Valley appears 5th July 2018.   Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

The next day, a young fox appeared, which I think may be a younger sibling of yesterday’s fox, and headed for the pond, which we have in a half wooden cask, for a drink.  There were also  five magpies going in and out of the bird bath.

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Poor young fox with scanty fur in Gledhow Valley. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

It was soon obvious that this was not a well fox, certainly compared to the one we saw the previous day.  Lacking in fur and with a red sore patch on its back.

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Unhealthy young fox wants a drink from the bird bath in a Gledhow Valley garden. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

The fox now wants to have a drink from the bird bath, which the magpies have temporally vacated.

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The magpies have not left much water for Gledhow Valley fox.   Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

The fox can’t quite reach for a drink as the magpies have splashed away most of it.

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Young fox in Gledhow Valley showing all the signs of mange, with open wound made worse by scratching.    Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

This close up of the fox shows all the caking and cracking of the skin and the red open wound which are advanced signs of mange.  Of course it is made worse by constant scratching, and the longest period of hot dry weather since 1976 would have contributed.

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Young fox with mange, really struggling, with attentive magpies (there were five of them altogether).   Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

All five magpies were nearby.  They were quiet, seemingly knowing that one of their rivals was really struggling.  Eventually the fox wandered off up the garden and into the woods.

Sadly, the following morning we found the body of this young fox on the lawn near to the pond.  Possibly the adult foxes would not let it into the den if they thought that it may die and would need to be removed, and so it returned to our garden.

I buried the fox in the garden, near to Tufty my cat.

But what about the other young fox?  

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The other young fox later appeared, also with signs of mange in Gledhow Valley garden. Photo Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

On 15 July 2018 this young fox appeared and it showed similar signs of having mange just like its sibling.  I is seen here eating some scraps of bread left by the magpies.  There was no sign yet of an open wound and so hopefully the mange was not as bad as with the other fox.

We all hope that this one survives.  

Gledhow Foxes Sunbathing, continuous line. Mick Burton

“Gledhow Foxes Sunbathing”. Association of Animal Artists “British Wildlife” exhibition, February & March 2015.   Mick Burton, Continuous line drawing.

I drew this picture over three years ago and I sold it at St Gemmas Leeds Art & Photography Exhibition & Sale last year.  I was also asked to produce a similar one as a commission. 

This year it is the St Gemma’s 40th Anniversary Arts Festival and I am one of the 40 artists invited to take part.  As I have intended to do a colour version of my foxes single continuous line for some time I will now complete one to include in my exhibits.

Nessie the cockapoo visits Gledhow Valley

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Nessie the cockapoo arrives with a favourite toy. How did she know my favourite colour range. Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Nessie the cockapoo has come to stay for a week whilst Helen and Janet are in California.  She arrived waving one of her favourite toys, which just happens to have a range of colours similar to those in a recent painting of mine.

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“Knight’s Tour Fragments”, acrylic on canvas. Exhibited at Harrogate and Nidderdale Art Club Exhibition in November 2016. Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Nessie is two and a half and lives in a village in Worcestershire in a house almost surrounded by common land.  Strangely, there are no cats in the village and no squirrels (although several years ago one appeared in the garden the day we arrived for a visit, and it was suggested that it had been a stowaway in our car).  Hens roam free in the garden – so where are the foxes?  No greater spotted woodpeckers, they are all green.

Nessie’s favourite spot in our house is by the French Windows at the back.  She watches the birds and squirrels endlessly, and it is good to lie down on the job.

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Nessie, the cockapoo, watching birds and squirrels. Why not take it easy?   Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

But Nessie is not used to seeing cats, and we have plenty of those.  Suddenly we hear barking and scraping at the window.

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Nessie spots a cat and all hell breaks loose.  Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Hopefully one of the foxes will turn up whilst Nessie is here.  We often see one or more during the day, and we even had one on the garage roof marking its territory.  Here is a photo of one in the garden in late January 2017.

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A Gledhow Valley fox in the garden in January 2017.  Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Nessie eats sensibly and feels that there my be more nurishment in the cardboard box than in the breakfast cereals themselves.

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Nessie tucking in to a cardboard box which had contained breakfast cereals.  Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Of course the highlight of each day for Nessie is the walk through Gledhow Valley Woods to the lake.

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Nessie, the cockapoo, can’t wait to go to Gledhow Valley Woods, and the lake, with Joan and me.  Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

We are used to seeing the odd rat scamper across the path by the lake, as well as seeing how well they swim.  One rat dashing across suddenly realised that Nessie was passing and took off, missing Nessie’s nose by a whisker.  I am not good at taking photos of flying rats, so here is one nearby wondering what is going on.

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A rat peeping from behind a tree on the banks of Gledhow Valley Lake.  Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Twenty ducks who were sitting on the bank and the path fly off when they see Nessie, and Joan has brought some oats to feed to the Swan.  There is only one swan left at the lake just now and it is still in its first year.

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Young swan, now living alone on Gledhow Valley Lake.  Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

We have been concerned for some months about the swans, particularly since the water level dropped after a digger cleared rubbish from the dam end. Large areas of silt have been on view where the swans nest.  Here are the adults and one youngster in late January 2017.

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Family of swans on Gledhow Valley Lake. Photo taken in late January 2017 before the adults abandoned the lake.  I hope the swans did not have to pull bread slices from this wrapper themselves.   Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

At the time of this photo, showing the two adults and the above young swan in late January 2017, the second youngster had been ostracized and was sitting in a corner of the lake.  When we were litter picking this Sunday on the monthly action day with Friends of Gledhow Valley Woods, they told us that soon after the photo foxes killed this young bird and then the adults left the lake.  One adult was found wandering in the Harehills area and the RSPCA took it to Roundhay Park lake.  A lady told us that the other adult was walking past her house in Oakwood, presumably heading for Roundhay Park lake too.  So we hope that things work out well for the adults at Roundhay and our young  survivor here in Gledhow.

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Nessie spots a cat she has not seen before. Henry adopts defensive mode.  Mick Burton, continuous line artist, Leeds.

On the way home from the lake, Nessie confronted a cat.  This is Henry and he stood sideways and seemed to double in size.  Nessie was on her lead, which was probable just as well for Nessie.

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Henry the marmalade cat from Gledhow Valley.  Dogs beware.   Mick Burton, continuous line artist.

Anna and Emma, the children next door, went to the woods with Nessie today and had been looking forward to it for days.  Nessie gets on well with everyone.

She has enjoyed her holiday in Gledhow Valley and we are taking her back to the land of green woodpeckers.

Red Squirrel continuous line and Grey Squirrel photographs

Red Squirrel, continuous line with colour sequence. Mick Burton, Leeds artist.

Red Squirrel, single continuous line drawing with colour sequence. Mick Burton, Leeds continuous line artist.

This continuous line Red Squirrel, completed with colour sequence, is one of my pictures to be hung at the Leeds Art Exhibition and Sale put on for the 15th year by St Gemma’s Hospice.

St Gemma's Leeds Art Exhibition. 29 - 31 October 2015

St Gemma’s Leeds Art Exhibition. 29 – 31 October 2015

This colour sequence squirrel is the last of a series which began with my attempt to produce a continuous line drawing with a shimmering fur effect for the squirrel.

Continuous line squirrel from 1970, with shimmering effect of fur. Mick Burton, Leeds artist.

Single continuous line drawing of squirrel from 1970, with shimmering effect of fur. Mick Burton, Leeds continuous line artist.

I have a treasured memory of seeing a Red Squirrel, when I was four, sitting on a wall next to our cottage at Arncliffe Hall, in the North Riding, where my Dad was Head Gardener to Sir Hugh Bell just after the War.  I thought that completing alternate shading with copper paint would best reflect this colour in this picture from 1970.  My daughter Kate said on the phone today that she remembered this picture being in the hall when she was young.

Red Squirrel with copper alternate shading from 1970. Mick Burton, Leeds artist.

Red Squirrel, single continuous line drawing with copper alternate shading from 1970. Mick Burton, Leeds continuous line artist.

I have many clear memories of living at Ingleby Arncliffe from the age of nearly two, to four and a half when we left.

Falling out of my pram outside the local shop and crawling up the step was the earliest. There was a three legged cat, then at Sunday School one of the stamps I collected was “The Light of the World” by William Holman Hunt (my first taste of the Pre-Raphaelites) and I won the child’s sprint on sports day on the cricket ground.

In the famous terrible winter of 1947, I remember Dad helping to dig a trench in the snow drifts down to the village.  It was amazing to walk along the trench and not be able to see out.

 I once watched a pig being killed in the yard by the cottage and the workman laughed as he squirted me with the pig’s bladder.  This memory came back years later when, as a young police constable, I attended my first post mortem (of a coal miner who had been in an underground tunnel collapse).  My sergeant stood with me and assured me that it would be just like a newly killed pig being cut up, if I had ever seen one.  I said “Yes, I saw one when I was four ! “

I only see grey squirrels now, mainly helping themselves to the bird seed Joan puts out.  With Gledhow Valley Woods at the end of the garden we can have five of them at a time.  Yesterday, a young squirrel was chased by a cat and ended up on the trellis a few feet from our dining room window.  Joan chased the cat away and called to me as the squirrel was too scared to move.

I took some quick photographs whist it was still there, but it became apparent that it was not going to move and was looking at me pleadingly.  So I went out and shepherded it into the bushes.  Here are some photos of a shimmering fur tail.

Young Grey Squirrel from Gledhow Valley Woods. Three feet from my window after being chased by a cat. Mick Burton, Leeds artist.

Young Grey Squirrel from Gledhow Valley Woods. Three feet from my window after being chased by a cat. Mick Burton, Leeds artist.

Young Grey Squirrel not daring to move, even though Joan had chased the cat away. Mick Burton, Leeds artist.

Young Grey Squirrel not daring to move, even though Joan had chased the cat away. Mick Burton, Leeds artist.

Young Grey Squirrel, imploring me to stop taking photos and do something about the cat. So I went out and shepherded it to the bushes. Mick Burton, Leeds artist.

Young Grey Squirrel, imploring me to stop taking photos and do something about the cat. So I went out and shepherded it to the bushes. Mick Burton, Leeds artist.