Went back to the location of a Red Fox den that I photographed last spring and found the vixen to be in fine form and having 8 pups to take care of this year. While waiting at the den site, the vixen went hunting for about 40-45mins and came back with a mouthful for her little ones.
Fall is in full swing in the Yukon Territory. These 2 Trumpeter Swans along the Klondike Highway between Whitehorse and Dawson City are of the last to leave the Canada’s north and make their way south.
Until recently, the Barred Owl was just another critter in the forest that was more often heard than seen due to it’s nocturnal nature. After succesfully reproducing it’s way across north America over the last century, the Barred Owl waded into controversy as it now shares habitat with the endangered Spotted Owl. The overlap has created a turf-war and being a bit larger and more aggressive, the Barred Owl has started to push the smaller/more timid Spotted Owl out of the remaining old growth forest in Oregon, Washington and southwest British Columbia. After a large campaign to protect Spotted Owls in the 1990’s, the Spotted Owl has a healthier population on the south side of the border but only 10-20 Spotted Owls remain in southwest British Columbia. Although a captive breeding program was put in place in British Columbia, this new threat to the Spotted Owl has caught the attention of wildlife managers and brought forth some controversial management practices in both Canada and the USA. Although the Barred Owl has a detrimental effect on the Spotted Owl, seeing a family of Barred Owls in Abbotsford BC this past week was still a rewarding experience that won’t be soon forgotten. Although one encounter was sans camera, the following morning the curiousity of this juvenile kept it around long enough to obtain a photo.
Over the years the Red Fox has been one of a few critters that have been a challenge for me to find and obtain decent photos. On top of personal efforts, reminding friends and colleagues to keep their eyes and ears open about den sites eventually paid off this spring with a den site being located not too far from my home in west Calgary. The landowners at the site were very welcoming, shared their experiences and were quite willing to put up with some strange guy laying in their horse pasture for a few hours at a time. Now being there when the foxes were out exploring their surroundings was all that needed to happen. After a few visits, the wind was on my side yesterday and after laying in the field watching Swainson’s Hawks fly overhead and photographing a few spring flowers, 2 of this years young ventured from the den for a few moments. While one was cautious and held back at the entrance to the den, the other made its way through the grass and stopped briefly allowing this photo.