We went out to Santa Rosa Island a couple of weeks ago and spent 4 nights camping. Every morning, I got up early with the hopes of capturing a photo of a Channel Island Fox. These little foxes are unique to the Channel Islands (and each island has its own subspecies) and were very close to going extinct. Until about the 1960s, the islands were inhabited by Bald Eagles who mostly eat fish. As the Bald Eagle population was decimated by hunting and by DDT poisoning, Golden Eagles moved in from the mainland. The Golden Eagles feasted on the island fox populations with the Santa Rosa population going down to only 14 foxes . To save the foxes, they were rounded up and bred in captivity on the islands. With the recent relocation of the Golden Eagles from the Isands and the reintroduction of the Bald Eagles, it was possible to reintroduce the foxes to the wild. The foxes are now thriving on the Islands in what is thought to be one of the most successful reintroductions of an endangered species to an area. The Santa Rosa population is now estimated to be in the range of 500 foxes. In any case, I was “skunked” during my morning photo walks except for a quick glimpse of a fox as it dove into a nearby canyon. As happen many times while trying to photograph wildlife, the opportunity came when we least expected it. My wife and I were sitting in a small canyon and waiting for our boat to the mainland on the last day when I saw this little face coming out of the brush……
I told my wife not to move for fear of it running back into the weeds but he instead came down and spent about 5 minutes with us – getting a drink of water and then returning to the brush. He didn’t seem very scared of us as he came pretty close but he certainly kept an eye on us for any threatening gestures. I think this next shot captures how we felt about this incredible way to end our stay on the island……Priceless!
Another photo of the momma fox with one of her kits. Not quite sure what is going on here but the kit sure seems to “looking into the teeth” of the situation….
Well, today is my birthday….(approaching the age of dirt) so I wanted to share a special photo with all of you who have helped make my blogging experience so enjoyable for the last couple of years. This is a photo of the momma fox that I introduced you to a few days ago – with one of her two kits. Watching them was certainly an incredible experience and one that I will remember for a long, long time. I hope you enjoy this photo and that it brightens your day a little – sharing it with you has made mine.
Last week I posted a picture of a red fox on the beach. We also saw this guy – first in the weeds and then out on the beach. If you compare the two, they have entirely different coloring with this one being kind of a chocolate brown. I looked for pictures to match this one and came across a “cross fox” which I found differing opinions on – whether it was a red fox with a seasonal coat or whether it is a different species. In any case he was very daper in his different colors and he gave us quit a chase before we got any photos of him.