Thanks to my amazing son, who heard me shrieking that Dickens was facing down another snake and ran outside with my camera, we actually have good photos of the early morning drama here on November Hill.
I was on my way to the bathroom when I glanced out the bedroom window and saw Dickens stalking. It took a moment to see the snake, which was quite successfully camouflaged as the root of a tree.
I realized it wasn't and then saw it moving oddly - it turned out the snake had a bird, which appeared to have been previously dead, as it was covered in yellow jackets, flies, and one inchworm!
The snake coiled around its meal, too distracted by the yellow jackets to get into it with a cat-turned-mongoose.
The approach of my son caused the snake to give up the meal and head for the holly tree, with Dickens carefully tracking its every move.
It became apparent as the snake moved that it had already eaten! Don't forget you can click on the photos to enlarge them, if you want to see the finer details of this unfolding episode. :)
I don't think this is the same snake from a few weeks ago, as the previous one had an entirely white belly.
Dickens was riveted to the tree.
I held my breath and hoped he wouldn't try to climb up and capture the snake in mid-climb.
By the time the snake got to a place of safety, where presumably it would digest that big meal, Dickens had settled in to monitor the situation.
We didn't manage to capture it in a photograph, but a few moments later, he was joined by fellow comrade-in-snake-hunting, Mystical Kit. The two laid themselves out in the shade, like twin guardians, and kept their collective eyes on the tree.
I suspect we're in for an exciting week if Monday morning has started out with such a bang.