Foxes – Irving Nature Park in St. John, New Brunswick (Nov 21, 2009 – from archived photos)
I started off the morning in overcast windy conditions photographing bridges. When I arrived at the Irving Nature Park late in the day, it was cloudy and the light available for photography was pretty diminished. Faced with two choices: photograph the beach or take a trail into the wooded hill region, I decided that I might as well take the trail even though I didn’t expect to have enough light for any decent photography.
As I walked out onto an upper level parking lot which was closed for the season I was really surprised to see a fox looking around the parking lot for some tidbits that humans might have left behind.
I had switched to my Nikon 70 – 200mm lens and grabbed a few shots when the parking lot fox decided that it was time to leave the parking lot and just ambled away to a nearby wooded area. Although the fox was ‘wild’ and somewhat skittish, it was not unduly frightened around humans so wasn’t in any big hurry. As it wandered off into the woods, I expected that my photographing of foxes was over for the evening. Boy, was I mistaken.
A short distance from the parking lot, there was an opening where I could sit on the cliff edge and look out over the waters below. I sat down on the edge and was photographing the shoreline when I looked up to see a fox stick its head out of a thicket and look me over before coming out into the open. At about the same time, there was a break in the cloud cover and I had near perfect lighting from a setting sun.
Up to this point in time, I was only aware of there being only one fox but when the first fox turned and snarled uphill, I was in for an added treat since there were actually two foxes, not just one. An interesting stare, another snarl, another stare, etc. and I just held my breath assuming that I might be in some danger but hoping that I wasn’t in any great danger. (Distance sometimes about 10 feet or less!)
From that point in time, and for a bit of time afterward, I had to keep my eyes on both foxes. One headed down the cliff edge and the other stayed nearer to me.
Eventually one of the foxes just wandered off along the face of the cliff, leaving me with just one fox to watch and photograph.
The amount of light that I had was highly variable. The sun continued to move in and out from behind a large bank of clouds that was moving in from the west but each time that I thought that my photographing would be over for the evening, the cloud would move a bit and I would get a few more golden rays coming through to highlight the colours of my pair of foxes.
I wasn’t really “ready to flee” but did hold my breath when this member of the duo poked its head out from under the lip of sod that overhung an eroded area of the bank (only a few feet from my feet) and then, just as quickly, returned to its search lower down on the bank.
The second fox watched its companion travel along the cliff edge, sat there for a bit and then headed uphill back into the bush and I got up and watched the first fox heading off into the distance and got ready to head back to my car.
Another surprise! After heading into the bush, this second fox had traveled through the parking lot and was now coming back out along a different route.
Picked this one to be the last of this fox series. I was only able to take this because the sun appeared from behind clouds for just a few moments before it dropped out of sight to end the day. The second fox in the pairing was a few hundred yards downhill at this point and this one was searching in the grass for something to eat. Fun to watch for awhile but soon not enough light to photograph so I just stood there a bit longer and watched before walking a couple of kilometers back to my car.
I will admit to having been a bit excited throughout this adventure.
It was definitely a good day!