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New Photos: San Juans Islands Foxes and Other Wildlife

In June I wrapped up the first half of my photo year by leading a couple of short photography outings in the San Juan Islands. The primary focus of these tours was the resident fox population, which has gained notoriety in recent years for producing colorful litters of kits. The San Juan foxes range in color from traditional red to black (“silver”), gray (“pearl”) and on rare occasions brown (I have no idea what that’s called). I timed my trips for later in the denning season. Though this means the kits aren’t quite as cute or cuddly any more, they are more active and independent. Photo opportunities abound!

The tours were a big success (I plan to lead a longer trip next year if you’re interested), and we did find some other wildlife as well. I’ve split the new photos into two galleries. All of the new fox images can be seen in a dedicated fox gallery here, while the other wildlife photos have been added to the ongoing PNW 2019 gallery. A short preview can be found below.

Red Fox with Kit

My very first look at the red foxes on this trip involved this act of begging between a kit (left) and its parent. I pulled over and had to quickly jump out of the car to capture this interaction.

Red Fox Kits

This year’s visit focused largely on a playful foursome of red kits.

Red Fox with Kit

A kit begs for food from its parent (in this case, a baby bunny).

Red Foxes

The four red kits were looked after by two females: a red vixen and another silver female. Foxes will sometimes share dens or help raise other kits if dens are close to each other.

Silver Fox

The silver female was still pretty fluffy, despite the onset of summer.

European Rabbits

European rabbits are an invasive species in the San Juan Islands…

Black Fox

…and a favorite prey of the foxes.

Red Fox with Kit

A vixen (right) and one of her kits fight over a prized rabbit. The kit actually won the tug of war and walked away with most of the meal.

Bald Eagle

Bald eagles were a common sight during this trip. Sometimes they’d swoop in low and try to steal food from the foxes.

Red Fox Kit

We had some nice weather during these outings, allowing for a number of opportunities to shoot the foxes in good light from different angles.

A family of silver foxes lived nearby. Though they weren’t as playful as the other family, I had a few opportunities to photograph them.

Black Fox Kit

Though these foxes were mostly black, “silver” is the official color designation, and I guess you can see why.

Red Fox Kit

The kits would often investigate rabbit warrens (without any hunting success) and would pounce on just about anything, even inanimate objects.

Red Fox Kit

Orca

My second group opted for a whale-watching outing in the islands, during which we spent time with a pod of orcas.

Silver Fox with Kit

Toward the end of the day, the light warmed up as adult and youngster shared a quiet moment.

Red Fox Kits

Failing light didn’t make the kits any less active.

Red Fox Kits

One last bit of play to end the evening.

Red Fox Kit

Very late one evening, I lay on my belly to capture a few silhouettes. A lovely way to end a day in the San Juans.

 

See the San Juan Foxes 2019 gallery.

See the PNW 2019 Parks & Reserves gallery (other San Juan wildlife).


If you’re interested in joining me on a fox photography outing in 2020, I will be leading a 3 Day/2 Night tour in June. Learn more here.

2020 San Juans Islands Fox Photo Tour

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