Foxes, foxes and more foxes!

Fox in the pasture.

(Click on images to enlarge)

Wednesday May 4th 2011: This evening I decided to try my luck at shooting a few decent images of the north marsh foxes. I photographed them yesterday, but the shots were opportunistic and I am not happy with them. So at 6:30 this evening I pulled on a pair of brown trousers, slung my Ghillie jacket and camera bag over my shoulder, and walked down to the marsh determined to hone my tree mimicking skills.

Coots, and the female mallard with her eight ducklings, swam happily in North Pond. I stood watching the ducks when a vixen appeared on the opposite bank: looking for something tasty to eat, no doubt. The mallard, being far too smart for this fox, moved her ducklings to the safety of the reeds. I was a tree, so the fox didn’t pay me any attention – for a while at least. She looked up, down and across the pond and sniffed the air. She must have seen a glint from my camera lens, or heard the clicking of the shutter. Perhaps my tree mimicking was not quite slick enough. She stared at me for around 15 to 20 seconds, from a few different angles, trying to work out what she was looking at. My tree impression had not fooled her after all. She quickly turned and ran into the wood.

Fox stalking the duck and ducklings (She has spotted me!)

I settled down in the north pasture to wait for the foxes to reappear. Twenty minutes later the vixen squeezed through the pasture fence. She sniffed the air and began working an area of grass in front of me. With her nose close to the ground, I saw eyes her eyes glinting in the bright evening sunlight. I stood exposed in the middle of the pasture; she was unaware I was watching her. After a while, perhaps 4-5 minutes, I noticed that her eyes had zeroed in on my boots. She trotted towards me. Her nose continuously sniffed the air, and her eyes were fixed on my boots – she thought my grey fabric boots were rabbits I expect. I was a little concerned that my boots might be about to get a savage gnawing. As her head filled my viewfinder she hesitated, stopped, thought better of it, and ran off towards the pasture fence.

A few of the images I made this evening are in the slide-show, below:

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119 Comments on “Foxes, foxes and more foxes!

  1. I think these are great natural fox photographs.

    More, please!

    • Hi Dave,

      I am glad you like my fox images. My photographs are little more that snaps, intended to give an impression of the marsh and its inhabitants; they recording what I see through my right eye – what I see through my left eye is private. Ha!

      Mike.

      • Mike its Evelyn here. Thanks for recently liking my cormorant photos on my blog. It led me to your foxes about which I am pleased. I like you writing style too. I really take photos more as a painting reference
        though must admit that increasingly the photo is my artwork in itself.

  2. Pingback: Pete’s question: “How much of the wildlife on Wilden Marsh actually lives there continuously?” | WILDEN MARSH: A Year Living with Nature at Hoo Wood and Wilden Marsh Nature Reserve.

  3. Thanks, Galen. There are quite a few coops close to the marsh boundaries that house chickens, geese and ducks. There are fox runs close to these coops. The coop owners know the risks and make sure the foxes can’t get access. I am pretty sure that each coop has at least one goose in residence, and these soon raise the alarm when Mr. Fox is about.

    I spend a lot of time watching the marsh foxes hunt. Humans can be more dangerous and mindless killers than the poor old fox. The fox removes a lot of our ‘so-called’ vermin.

    I guess that it’s not easy being a fox. However, the marsh foxes hunt as a pair, and it seem to be a successful strategy for them. I have not witnessed foxes hunting as a pair outside the marsh boundaries.

  4. I don’t think I’ve seen two foxes working together to make a kill. Are they two young foxes you have on the marsh? If they are they might split up before the new breeding season. I would be interested to know if this actually happens Mike.

  5. I have been wondering the same thing, John: will the two marsh foxes still be together at the end of the year? Time will tell!

  6. beautiful fox photos, i admire your skill …how wonderful to have the vixen come so close to you! here we often see a fox disappearing through the trees but rarely see more than a glimpse

    • Thank you, dadirri7.

      It is very kind of you to say such nice things about my post.

      Getting decent photographs of wild animals usually takes a bit of work: a good position for your camera and above average patience. I am not the most patient person on this planet.

  7. Nice work, Mike. I am curious about the interest in your boots. I have seen foxes in our garden chewing on the solid rubber pedals of a neighbour’s bike. Maybe they like rubber as a dental chew! Or maybe you had walked through something smellily interesting…

    • Thanks for your comment, Isobel.

      The boots I mention in the post are a multi-grey colour; perhaps the foxes mistake my boots for rabbits.

  8. I admire your fox shots. I’ve never been able to get a good one. I also like the shot of the two mallards, each looking a different way. It makes for an interesting composition.

  9. These are stunning! I have a special fondness for foxes, and really enjoyed these images of them.

  10. Foxes are magnificent. The wild, skinny, smart version of canine life. If dogs dream of a less subjugated life, well, they dream to be a fox. Fox is the only animal, with the only exception of the ox, with an ‘x’ embedded into the name. Such phonetic detail makes this lovely animal sound even smarter, as if the letter sharpness were a reminder of a sharp mind. Foxes have big tails because when night comes they curl into a cozy donut of hair and shelter their face into a warm corner.
    God exists.

  11. Great narrative and great fox captures! I’ve been hoping to get some fox “opportunities” for a long while but haven’t managed to see one in any of my travels. Well done – I’m envious.

  12. You have some great shots here! We have foxes in our neighborhood here in SW Minnesota, but I’ve only seen them once. I was so excited to see him! Our neighbors (farmers) hate them, but I’ve never had reason to be irritated by them. Great post! And thanks for finding my blog!!

  13. Jimi Hendrix – Foxy Lady. There was a red fox here in very urbane North Miami and a surprise because not much habitat. Perhaps he made it like the few possums and raccoons. Must people said this was just a legend everyone spread. But I saw the red fox twice ! I think. Mighta been a red fire engine. Anyway, thanks visit my blog.

  14. Thanks for your comment, Carl.

    The fox is a very adaptable animal and quite happy dining on vermin.

  15. Morning Mike …excellent photos of foxes! And I love the Mallards & the woodpecker. Your part of the country sounds like quite a beautiful place. speaking of ducks, I had a Muscovery “Huggers” who lived to be over 11 years. He was quite the personality and really had attitude! “one of these days” I’ll scan some photos and post them!

    A.M.

  16. Nice blog Mike…. I too wear a ghillie suit and have one for my boat, your persistence was rewarded with some sweet shots. I’m goin nuts right now the ducks are pairing up in the lake at the island and are coming in in squadrons. Like an idiot I scratched the sensor on my D90 and the cost to fix it means time for a upgrade. So for now I’m working from the archives and enjoying some of the excellent work from other people like you.

  17. Thanks, Hutch. Life must be awful without your camera; you have my sympathies. The excitement levels here are steadily increasing, too.

    I hope you upgrade soon.

  18. Awesome photographs of this Fox ,excellent work !! you must have been well hiden, I have the odd one stop and look at the badger sett I use but never got any good ones, or I’m in the wrong place when I do get close. I’ll try again this year, once again super photographs, very nice to see. Regards A Seymour.

  19. Thanks, Alan.

    When I took these photographs, I was standing in the middle of a pasture. I was wearing a Ghillie jacket and a pair of brown trousers.

  20. Great fox photos!
    My photo was at my friends wedding. He walked up and stood watching the bridesmaids come in then after the last maid walked past he ran up the path toward the bride. Was priceless! :0)

  21. What a healthy-looking vixen! We’ve seen a red fox a couple of times on our farm. One came close to the house where we had a suet feeder hung on a tree. Do you think the fox came to get the tidbits that the birds knock to the ground? Just curious as to what he was after because we have two dogs and I was surprised he came so close.

  22. Thanks for your comment, Jo.

    The fox will go anywhere it wants in search of food; it won’t be over concerned about your dogs, and it will eat the suet. If you have any fowl on the farm, they will be of definite interest to a fox.

      • Welcome, let’s see what I will get in front of the camara over the next 2 days. Just absolutely crazy here at the moment with traffic. Look to go for a drive late afternoon and very early tomorrow morning.

  23. Sublime, beautiful images… I adore the fox. Can’t wait to investigate your other critters. 🙂

  24. How lucky you are to have the job you do and, at the same time, be able to create this great menagerie of images! Remarkable! Thanks also for liking my “tent caterpillar” post, Mike.

  25. Mike, thanks for liking my Pintail duck Photo of the week. I was looking at your fox images (great shots)! Fox can be a challenge to photograph since their eye sight and smell is so good. I have done some research and adopted the same tactics that hunters use camo, scent control and learning how to use game call that will attract the wildlife I chooses as a subject. Scent control is one of the biggest points I have found for success. Calling is fun and we learn more about the habits and habitat of our subjects. To attract fox I use a single reed diaphragm call to make injured rabbit sounds.
    Looking forward to seeing more of your blog posts. Good luck and keep shooting
    Regards
    Joe V. http://www.joevphoto.com (capturing all things natural)

  26. i love your page, thanks for stopping by and introducing yourself! the foxes are grand, aren´t they? that color, there´s nothing else quite like it in nature. and those eyes. thanks! made my morning!

  27. Wow. Great pictures and blog. Thanks for sharing. I envy the picture opportunities you must get. I’ll definitely following your adventures.

  28. I loved the slide show. My favorite was the picture of the fox when she spotted you. You captured the moment of surprise perfectly 🙂

  29. Those pictures are AMAZING! It must be incredible to be that close to nature! Well done!
    Oh, And thanks for visiting my blog and saying you liked my ‘Name my Baby’ post!! You’re the first person to visit! THANK YOU!!!!

    • Thank you, Rachel. If you can establish the foxes routine, you might be able to get a decent image. 🙂

  30. I’ve always loved the look of these animals…something about them. I love the color combination of rusty-red & dark-green, makes the fox pop. Lovely pics 🙂

  31. Mike,
    You must do a heck of a good tree imitation! These are phenomenal photos of the foxes! And you apparently are not hampered by the type of photographer’s assistants with which I am blessed. My son’s dog and all three of our cats like to go with me if they spot me leaving with my camera. Although, the other morning when two talkative cats were with me, I managed several photos of a raccoon doing some late night fishing in the pond. Finally she sniffed the air and decided it was high time for any self-respecting raccoon to head home for a good days’ sleep.
    Anyhow, thanks for stopping by and liking my katydid post.
    Kyle

  32. Thanks, Kyle. I like to think I do a pretty good tree imitation. I have a dog, but dogs and people are not allowed access to the marsh. 🙂

  33. Absolutely stunning foxy photos…brilliant. I adore anything fox except hunting!!!!! They visit me in my back garden and fox is one of my spirit guides too

    • Thanks, Alex. You might have realised that I have a weakness for the marsh foxes. I have to limit their exposure on this blog, otherwise I would have to rename it “The Fox Blog.” 😉

  34. Love the Fox pics Mike, and thanks for dropping by my blog.
    My local Reserve is Magor Marsh in Monmouthshire S.Wales.

    Cheers
    Mark

  35. Great shots and informative comments too. Mike, we have just moved to a suburban neighborhood in which a red fox is always on the prowl. We are concerned about our 11-year old Persian cat being a target. She doesn’t wander far, but this fox is not shy about approaching houses. What do you think?

  36. A fully grown cat will not have a problem with a fox; foxes are not keen on those sharp claws. If a cat is very old, weak, or if it’s a kitten, the fox might win the day. Cats are very good at looking after themselves, Jack. A cat is more agile and quicker than a fox. I would guess that a cat wouldn’t bother giving way to a fox, unless it was a seriously big wily dog fox.

  37. Despite your disclaimer, you must be a VERY patient fellow. These captures are marvelous, and the color! So true to the fox, red in sunlight. We have a fox here, I love to watch through the window, but I know she’d (he’d?) scatter instantly if I slid open the back door —
    It/he/she eats the birds it/he/she manages to catch — I’ve seen the fox eat two of them so far. We live in a very suburban area, although next to woods, and I’m always surprised at the wild life that flourishes in suburbia. Really enjoyed your post and photos.

  38. This is my first visit to your blog and I love the banner photo. Your nature writing skills are great, and the accompanying photos make each piece very special.

  39. Love your photographs and I know how hard it is to get close enough to a fox to snap away.
    Thanks for visiting my blog– will poke around yours right now.

  40. Thanks a lot for liking my spider macro which has lead me to seeing your amazing blog! you have some great pictures on here which has inspired me. what entry level dslr should i go for? Thanks

  41. Thanks for your comment. I don’t have much knowledge of cameras. I use a Canon 500D and a 7D.

  42. Hi Mike! This one caught my eye because I just recently saw a white fox when I was vacationing in Colorado, but alas, it was even too far away for a zoom lens. They’re gorgeous, aren’t they? Thanks, too, for the nod on my “Shrooms” post; appreciate it.

  43. There’s something about seeing a fox that is memorable. I remember seeing red foxes frequently early in the morning when I walked to my school bus stop as a young girl living in the back country on a farm. Never had a camera back then, but if I had I’m sure I would have been photographing them. But, somehow those moving images still remain in my mind so maybe I do have a photographic memory.

    • Foxes are very capable wild things, with repudiations; they feature in stories, nursery rhymes, children’s books and National Geographic magazines. Foxes intrigue us, Mary.

  44. Beautiful photos and what an enthralling read!! I absolutely adore foxes. This was such a delight, thank you!!

    Autumn Jade

  45. Wonderful images, here … We have foxes who come at night, with different types of calls. I want to research what I can about the different types of calls they make. I don’t see the foxes often. We live at 8800 feet, Clear Creek County, Rocky Mountains. I am looking forward to following your blog. Peace, T

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