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.

The coots, and the female mallard with her eight ducklings, were swimming on North Pond. I stood watching the ducks and 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 appear. 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 could see her eyes glinting. I stood exposed in the middle of the pasture; she was unaware that 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. Her eyes were fixed on my boots. I was a little concerned that my boots might be about to get a good old 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:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


This entry was posted in Foxes, Mallard., Wilden Marsh Nature Reserve and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

119 Responses to Foxes, foxes and more foxes!

  1. Dave Ryan says:

    I think these are great natural fox photographs.

    More, please!

    Like

    • mike585 says:

      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.

      Like

      • 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.

        Like

  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. Nice fox pictures. Fun visitor to have so long as they aren’t raiding the coop

    Like

  4. mike585 says:

    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.

    Like

  5. The Wildlife Man says:

    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.

    Like

  6. mike585 says:

    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!

    Like

  7. dadirri7 says:

    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

    Like

    • mike585 says:

      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.

      Like

  8. IsobelandCat says:

    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…

    Like

  9. danitacahill says:

    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.

    Like

  10. Lily says:

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

    Like

  11. mike585 says:

    Thank you very much for your comment, Lilly. 🙂

    Like

  12. carlo says:

    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.

    Like

  13. scottrandall says:

    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.

    Like

  14. mike585 says:

    Thanks, Scott. You have some lovely images in your blog.

    Like

  15. 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!!

    Like

  16. mike585 says:

    Thank you,Gretchen. The fox can be a problem, but they do eat a lot of vermin.

    Like

  17. 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.

    Like

  18. mike585 says:

    Thanks for your comment, Carl.

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

    Like

  19. Anne-Marie says:

    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.

    Like

  20. Anne-Marie says:

    Oops .. I meant to type “Muscovy” duck!

    Like

  21. Hutch says:

    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.

    Like

  22. mike585 says:

    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.

    Like

  23. Alan Seymour says:

    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.

    Like

  24. mike585 says:

    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.

    Like

  25. mike585 says:

    Thanks for your comment, petrel41. Nice vid, 🙂

    Like

  26. jbcamera says:

    Wonderful shots of an elusive animal. Thanks for ‘liking’ my blog. Jane

    Like

  27. 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)

    Like

  28. Nice set of Fox photos you have here!

    Thanx for the link.

    Like

  29. mike585 says:

    Thanks, Steve. 🙂

    Like

  30. what a handsome fellow! I love foxes:)

    Like

  31. Jo Ann Abell says:

    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.

    Like

  32. mike585 says:

    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.

    Like

  33. great article and pics Mike, maybe we should swap some wild life 🙂

    Like

  34. FeyGirl says:

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

    Like

  35. gardenqueen says:

    I very much envy you your living arrangements.

    Like

  36. 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.

    Like

  37. mike585 says:

    I am fortunate indeed! Thanks for commenting. 🙂

    Like

  38. joevphoto says:

    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)

    Like

  39. mike585 says:

    Thank you, Joe. I make the wounded rabbit call with my lips.

    Like

  40. Beautiful shots 🙂 There are some around here I’m dying to get on film, but so far no luck!

    Like

  41. Lissa Rabon says:

    Thank you for this. What a nice treat!

    Like

  42. angels2send says:

    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!

    Like

  43. isomonkey says:

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

    Like

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

    Like

  45. How wonderful to capture those images! Thanks for visiting m blog and liking my “Clematis” post.

    Like

  46. littlemisschocablok832 says:

    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!!!!

    Like

  47. Rachael says:

    Very well done! We get foxes in our garden but I have yet to bag a decent shot.

    Like

  48. 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 🙂

    Like

  49. Nice set of images.

    Like

  50. Kyle says:

    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

    Like

  51. mike585 says:

    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. 🙂

    Like

  52. celticawitch says:

    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

    Like

  53. Alex Jones says:

    The fox images are magnificent.

    Like

  54. Lisa says:

    I love your fox pics!! I have loved red foxes ever since I was a little girl!!

    Like

  55. Mark Goodwin says:

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

    Cheers
    Mark

    Like

  56. Wonderful shots. I enjoyed your commentary too. Your comment, “I was a tree,” really made me laugh.

    Like

  57. You have an absolutely fascinating blog.
    Thank you for your like. Otherwise I would not have known about your blog.

    Like

  58. 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?

    Like

  59. mike585 says:

    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.

    Like

  60. touch2touch says:

    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.

    Like

  61. mike585 says:

    Thank you very much for your post

    Like

  62. Love your photos they are great!!!!!!!!

    Like

  63. mary mageau says:

    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.

    Like

  64. 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.

    Like

  65. 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

    Like

  66. mike585 says:

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

    Like

  67. 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.

    Like

  68. bettyl says:

    What fabulous photos!

    Like

  69. 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.

    Like

    • mike585 says:

      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.

      Like

  70. smilingtoad says:

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

    Autumn Jade

    Like

  71. muddepaws says:

    Wonderful photos, and the colour of the foxes is so vibrant. They look beautiful.

    Like

  72. mike585 says:

    Thank you! I am glad that you like my images. 🙂

    Like

  73. ramblingratz says:

    Beautiful photos of a beautiful animal.

    Like

  74. 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

    Like

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