I’ve been writing a lot lately about the three eaglets as they explore the woods along the Nith River. As I have occasionally pointed out there are other species that sometimes make an appearance in this area and which I have been fortunate to encounter.
Thursday evening, while waiting for the eagles to descend from the tallest trees, a fox came running around the bend in the river. Upon seeing me it turned quickly and ran in the opposite direction. So I waited too see if it might re-appear along that stretch of the river.
After five minutes or so, voila!
She sniffed around on the pebble beach about 40-50 metres away then wandered down to the river for a drink. Once she spotted me though she stood frozen for a few minutes before wandering towards the woods.
I wasn’t alone in observing her. I noticed the eaglets had turned their attention to her from above. The adult female eagle was perched in a tree too and made a few calls which seemed calmer than normal. Perhaps she was drawing her family’s attention to the intruder.
The fox sat down looking at me. I hadn’t moved and was happy to photograph her from a distance. After looking at my images on the back of camera I could see this fox didn’t look right. Skinny and lacking some fur on the tail I wondered if it is suffering from mange. Most likely she has simply shed her winter coat as foxes do each year. I couldn’t see any evidence she had been scratching – which is a sign of mange. Certainly she was a wonderful subject and a great surprise on this day.
She went back to the river for another drink before staring back at me again for a couple of minutes.
I had not changed my position and I imagine she decided I wasn’t a threat. To my delight she went into the water and started swimming to the other side. Had I gone closer, before she entered the water, she would likely have left the area and not accomplished her goal of crossing the river.
Again, my patience was rewarded by allowing the fox to do what she wanted. A photographer must not interfere and cause an animal or bird to alter its behaviour just to get a picture. We should merely observe. I have found that this means sometimes I don’t get the picture I would have imagined but often I get ones I couldn’t have expected!
A tree trunk lies in the water here and once she reached it she climbed and used it as a bridge to the sandbank. Looking from side to side she wandered up the sand before vanishing into the woods.
Once again, I had gone to the river expecting to come home with some ‘eagles in flight’ photos but was treated to an encounter with an elusive fox. You never know what you might find when you spend time in nature. Please get out and experience the outdoors safely …..and ethically!
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