For the past few weeks I have been trying to find a red fox in a local county park. I have come across it three times now – once while walking, once while sitting and waiting, and once when I came across it sleeping. Each encounter was over before I knew it, ending with a quick dive into the underbrush, most definitely before I could get a picture.
Encounter 2 and 3 happened in the same spot, so I have been sitting on a log near the clearing hoping it would cross my path. Since I havent seen it in weeks, I am really not sure what the best strategy to capture it on camera is yet, and it is proving to be a difficult challenge. My next strategy is to wait for fresh night snow and look for tracks in the early morning, before I have even a hope of having enough light to photograph.
Today we had just a dusting of snow which wasn’t great for tracks, and having forgot the small square of cardboard to pad my sitting log, I employed a new strategy this morning and walked every trail I could in the park. It is an island park and not very large so this only took a couple hours. In the process I saw one of the resident red tail hawks, and I believe I saw one of the resident great horned owls flying in the distance as well. Photographic challenges for a different day.
I also noticed two larger nests since I was taking a different route than I normally would. After brightening them up in post I think that the one with more sticks sticking out encased in the vertical branches is a hawk nest. I will have to keep an eye out for it.
One of my favorite finds of the day was a set of racoon tracks in some deep, wet mud. I was just shown yesterday how to look for hollows in trees for them by a fellow photographer Kevin Murphy. We have had mud for about all of December now so no telling their age at least to my eyes, but they were deep set and very defined.
I didn’t stay long after that, the wind was getting colder and stronger, and I had a very important lunch date to get to. It is finally icing up, which will make an opportunity for bald eagle photography, and hopefully with a good clean snow I can return and continue my quest for the foxy fellow.