I know that they have also become more active at one of my research sites since December.
I've never actually seen them with my own eyes near the house, only their sign. I bring a spotlight with me when I take the dog out for his nightly evacuation in the hopes that I will get a glimpse of our resident forest spirits in the orchard next door, or in the pine trees behind the house.....but so far, I've seen nary an eye-shine.
I would wager they are often out there, however....probably carefully watching the dog and I as we lumber along the driveway. I often picture them hiding silently behind a wall of dormant raspberry, waiting for us to head back into our luxuriously warm abode before continuing with their constant struggle to survive during these frigid months.
Today, however, I found evidence that the Ol' Todd had recently come a bit closer than normal.
I found a set of fox tracks near the White and Red Pine Trees immediately behind our house. We had an inch of new snow last night, so I knew the tracks were fresh. They purposefully moved along the back side of our garden and past the compost bins.
....here the trail abruptly stopped.
The fox then turned almost on a dime, planted on all fours once...perhaps to stop and scan his surroundings....before moving away from the driveway and back up into the safety of the pine trees.
If you look carefully at the picture above, the track in the foreground was the last in the trail moving this direction....the ones in roughly the middle of the frame are of Toddie's new direction (note the four to five tracks near eachother....probably where the fox stood to get a better look before moving on).
And so he went....until he hit one of my old foot trails back into the woods and I stopped following.
Whatever the case, I wish Todd the best of luck during these cold winter months...and wish all of you a happy New Year!