It’s been a while since I’ve spent much time on my local patch, so this blog has been a little neglected, but now I’m back in the UK for the rest of the Summer and Autumn, I aim to rectify the situation as quickly as possible..
I’m going to make a new section for my trip reports, which I’ll be updating over the next few weeks with stories and pictures from my adventures so far this year (first up will be Estonia). Hopefully it will help things from getting confused with this local patch page for anyone that follows it :)
I’ve been busy in Bristol during the last few weeks, catching up with my local wildlife and people working with it, so I’ve got loads of new local stories, including urban gull ringing in Bristol and Bath and an unusual find I made of a small population of urban rabbits in Bristol - but while I get those together, I thought I’d share these pictures of urban foxes that I took this weekend.
I’ve been looking for a good urban fox to photograph for a while, but this weekend, I got really lucky and found 5! They are a family group, with the vixen and 3 kits in one area and the dog fox living just a few roads down. They seem to be pretty healthy and regularly interact and play-fight, but the best thing is that they’re bold, so they will come out in the daylight and don’t mind me photographing them.
As you can see from the images above, the dog fox is a handsome chap and he's in good condition. The kits look pretty healthy too, but this vixen is showing some signs of mange.
I first went out at dusk on Sunday night, as I'd had a call earlier in the day about a road-kill bird of prey, which turned out to be a fledgling gull. As it was pretty fresh, I thought I'd leave it out for the foxes - I wouldn't normally attempt to bait a wild animal, but as the foxes would benefit from the food and the gull would only have gone to waste, I didn't mind this time. I put it out to make a few test exposures, but as soon as I did, a fox kit came heading straight over. I didn't want him to associate me with food, so I quickly backed off and used a remote trigger to fire my camera.
As I've been working with gulls recently (which I will be discussing in an upcoming post), I thought it would be interesting to show that although the infant mortality rate of city gulls is quite high, they provide a valuable food-source for urban scavengers. The image I made isn't technically perfect, but I quite like it and it could have been a lot worse, as the young fox was so quick that I literally only had the chance to fire off a single frame.
The next morning, I was pretty excited to go and see if they were still around, so I got up for sunrise and was pleased to find the dog fox patrolling his territory, which made for some great opportunities to show him in his urban environment.
I really enjoyed hanging out with him and watching his behaviour. I know they are thought of as pretty common, but it's not every day you can sit and watch a wild animal at such close quarters. In the image above, he is looking up at a passing hot air balloon (a regular occurence on a Summer dawn in Bristol!). I'm really looking forward to getting to know the family a bit better and reassured by the results from just one evening and morning's session, I'm hoping I will be able to get a nice collection of urban fox pictures in the coming weeks.