Friday, January 27, 2023

A fox at Cape Henlopen

I'm in Delaware and vicinity for about a week, staying in Lewes. It's a great base camp for a number of interesting places and I haven't been letting the grass grow under my feet. Yesterday, my first full day here, I thoroughly explored Cape Henlopen State Park. This is the elevated boardwalk that forms a section of the trail back to Gordon Pond. I had an amazing experience with a Red Fox right about where I took the above iPhone snap.

I was mostly shooting birds and had my big 800mm (plus 1.4x extender) on a tripod. I was trying to shoot an Orange-crowned Warbler eating bayberry fruit with that rig when I heard the patter of little feet. I whirled around just as the fox shot by just feet away on the boardwalk. I dropped to my knees and squeaked, which stopped him in his tracks. I almost always carry a 400mm on another camera body on a shoulder strap when out on foot after birds and whipped that into position and fired as he ran back my way.

He ran up to about fifteen feet or so from me, paused to give me the once over, and I got this portraiture shot. Apparently deciding I wasn't really a mouse, he trotted right by me and down the trail in the direction he originally came from. I'll gladly add this to a hefty memory bank of notable fox encounters.

NOTE: Making squeaking noises is a tried-and-true technique to get animals' attention. Foxes are especially lured by it. They are highly curious, and squeaks suggest the sound of a wounded animal, or perhaps a mouse - anyway, it's a sound that warrants investigation! Dropping to one's knees is critical to get rid of the upright bipedal posture. Humans, after all, are easily the most dangerous mammals on earth and a lot of creatures know it. Going prostrate or at least to one's knees presents a less threatening appearance.

Visited a few other amazing locales today and took lots of shots of interesting subjects. Tomorrow morning is a boat trip to seek seals, and I'll hopefully have some interesting material on pinnipeds and that excursion later.

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