Sunday, 30 June 2019

The Fox & Rabbit

It’s been a while since I last posted a blog and I have been debating whether to continue with it.  Maybe blogs have gone out of style but I’m just not sure if the interest is out there anymore.  Many of the blogs I visit, are no longer updated and I don’t get many visits to mine.  Anyhow, with a few weeks off I have managed to get out and about so thought I would post something.

I was starting to regret not bringing warmer clothing, even gloves, after an hour of watching and photographing rabbits – not June weather (or maybe it is!).  Rabbits may not be thought of as the most exciting or glamorous animal, but I find them a little therapeutic and of course where there are rabbits there’s a chance of a fox.

After an initial wariness of my arrival they settled down an ignored my presence.  Around 40 minutes later the rabbits suddenly froze, bolted upright then scattered.  In the direction they were looking a fox appeared.  I didn’t have time to cover myself with my netting as the fox was looking directly at me.  As I turned to take a picture my camera just started shooting by itself, one frame after another.  By the time is stopped the fox was trotting off in the opposite direction and I had around eight frames of a completely out of focus fox looking right into the camera!  It did stop to look back at me giving me the chance to grab a couple of shots.  It seemed unwittingly, I had the horizontal shutter on the battery grip jammed up against a nearby obstacle.
It’s surprising how quickly everything returned back to normal and within minutes all the rabbits were out again, feeding and I was able to get a few interesting images.

One of the best ways to know if a predator such as a fox is about is the reaction of the wildlife.  Magpies in particular make a loud squaring noise and fly around as it mobs the predator.  A couple had been around all morning doing this but with the rabbits ignoring it.  On one occasion though they didn’t.  Whether it was a change in the ‘tone’ or because they could sense a fox, I don’t know but again, they were frozen upright and tense.

When I looked in the direction they were staring at, I saw another fox, again staring at me.  It didn’t stay long as it immediately back tracked and again everything settled to a relaxed atmosphere.

Another hour passed when there was a massive racket again coming from the Magpies.  This went on for sometime and I thought of moving position to find the cause of the noise – presumably a fox, but thought I may as well stay put.  Luckily I did as suddenly out of nowhere three foxes sprinted out at the rabbits I was watching.  It happened so quickly I barely had time to react and it was over in seconds.  I don’t know where two of the foxes went but there was one remaining around 14 metres away, perfectly posing for me.  This one didn’t seem particularly bothered by me, though I was relatively hidden.  It seemed more interested in the rabbits and after a couple of moments trotted off.

I was surprised to see, after walking past a thistle, just biting off the top part and eating it.  Probably not as fulfilling as a rabbit for it I guess.