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Friday May 6th 2011: I want a photograph of a marsh foxes with its kill, so I need to be in a position where I can wait without the foxes being aware that I am watching. I need a good all round view of the pasture. I know it’s a long shot, expecting a fox to walk past me with a rabbit, pigeon or pheasant in its mouth, but they have to eat, and if I don’t make the effort, I am unlikely to get to get the image I want.
The problem with this strategy is that if the fox sees me too often, even though he might not realise what I am, because of my camouflage, he will be suspicious when he/she is next in the area. One of the ways that might help to ‘out-fox’ the fox, is to approach the pasture from a different direction each time; another might be to vary my camouflage; another might be to get in position really early and wait, probably a long time, until a fox appears. At the end of the day, luck is involved and there is no guarantee of getting the shot that I am after, but I am going to give it go. It would be nice to get some shots of their cubs, too.
Anyway, I skirted around the North Pond this evening and waited a while to see if the vixen would appear again on the pond bank: she didn’t. The mallard and her eight ducking and the two coots were there, though, and yellow flag irises were beginning to flower.
As I walked around the end of the wood there was already a fox on the pasture and it looked as if it had made a kill, but it was too far away to be certain and the grass was long. I snapped off a few shots and inched carefully forward. The fox remained in the same place and its head was going down to the ground every now and again, as though he was eating.
I knew the game would be up for this evening if the fox saw me; he or she would high-tail it out of there and wouldn’t be back any time soon. This fox wasn’t going to stay in place was for too long, either, so I kept inching forward, taking photographs as I went. Then the fox looked my way. It was too late. I had spooked it. I stood as still as I could, but the fox wasn’t looking away: its gaze just narrowed and its head dropped a little. The game was up now and the fox began to move away, not very quickly, but it soon disappeared amongst the trees and bushes. I was pretty sure that the fox hadn’t picked-up my scent, because the breeze was blowing towards me; I think it was probably wondering if the bush it was now looking at had been there 5 minutes ago.
I waited around for almost an hour, but I didn’t see another fox. I will try again, though. There are more than enough rabbits, pigeons and pheasants on the north marsh, and particularly on the lagoon field, to ensure that they will be back another evening.