Saturday, May 21, 2011

Fox dens

A couple of years ago when I joined flickr I came across some amazing wildlife photographers whose posts to flickr have been inspirational.

One thing that really amazed me was how much wildlife they seemed to have access to.  A huge variety of bird life,  coyote, fox and other animals appear frequently in their photo streams.

The recipe, it seems is a combination of the following factors:
  1. Patience.  You have to be willing to stand or sit for hours in a spot waiting for an animal to come by or to get close.
  2. Location.  By word of mouth or simply by trying varieties of locations you get to know where to be and at what time of year to be there.   (Camera clubs are good for this, but you have to realize that some of these locations are guarded carefully for competitive and to safeguard the wildlife from the media circus of wildlife paparazzi that sometimes accompanies the discovery of an owls nest or baby birds.
  3. Perseverance.  Many weekends of getting up early in the morning to go to favorite spots eventually pays off.
  4. Chance encounters.  Sometimes you just get lucky!
Fox A couple of weeks ago Anne had discovered that a fox was standing a few feet beyond our deck.  It was licking the birdseed from the ground outside and stayed long enough for me to take a photograph of it.

It looked in pretty good shape and I have been wondering how to track it back to its den to see whether it has any kits.  For a few years I have been hoping to find a fox den that I could watch and photograph.

This past week, I arranged to meet with a club member at a local bird sanctuary one morning.  We were planning to take a trip up to Maine to photograph Osprey (more on that later).  It was raining and we watched some goslings under the protective care of their parents.

After walking around some looking for warblers, we decided to take a look at a spot that we had heard was the location of a fox den.

We arrived in the cold and rain and very quickly noticed two kits playing on a mound near the den. Play

They stopped briefly as we arrived to take a look at us.  We walked slowly toward then not making eye contact and we settled down about 80feet from them and waited.  Within a short time returned to their play.  At one point they chased each other to within about 20feet of us and one of them stopped and sat down and stared at us for long enough for me to take a few really close-up portraits.

After a while the siblings gradually appeared from the den.  I couldn't see the entrance, but as each of them appeared, they stretched and sat down to look around.  When they noticed us, they stared for a while and then joined in the play.

It is quite an incredible feeling to watch wild animals like this.  You can see what motivates explorers and wildlife photographers to make a living of this.