Monday, September 2, 2013

My Fox Experience

fox kit by Alida's Photos
fox kit, a photo by Alida's Photos on Flickr.

There's been so much talk about the recent fox sightings that I thought I would share my personal experience. I've lived on Long Island since 1979 and until four years ago, had never seen a fox in the wild. Never!

In 2009, one early spring day, my husband and I took our boat to Barrett Beach and there, sunning himself/herself in the vegetation was a full grown and very healthy looking fox. I was so excited; I grabbed my camera and took some shots. It wasn't the best time of day, so the next day and a few days after, we went back to take additional photos, with a longer lens and in the early morning light.

A few weeks later, we went back to the same area and the smell was over-powering. We could see the remains of fish, skates, crabs, gulls and even something that looked like a muskrat. We quietly sat in the sand and waited for the fox to return. Well, to our surprise, out came three little fox kits! Apparently, this was their fox den and the mother had been bringing food to her babies. When the mother returned, she was not happy to see us sitting there, even though we kept a safe distance. They all returned to their "nest" and we did not see them again for the rest of the day!

We often see fox on Fire Island and have since 2009. I often laugh when the caution tapes go up to protect the shore birds. Look behind those tapes and you will see lots of fox prints. I guess foxes don't know the shorebirds are endangered!

In 2010 I saw a fox for the first time in Bayport. One of our neighbors had some chickens in a chicken coop. The fox returned more than once for those chickens. One day I got a shot of him walking down the street with a chicken in his/her mouth. Needless to say, our neighbor no longer has the chicken coop.

We continue to see a fox in the neighborhood, often just after sunset or very early in the morning. I don't rush to take photos anymore. Sadly, the fox I've seen recently doesn't look as healthy as the fox I saw that first time on Fire Island. Lack of food, living among people, or some fox illness has apparently taken its toll. I'm not a veterinarian but the fox just doesn't look as healthy to me. I hope they do survive here on Long Island. It's nice to see a little wildlife here in our suburban community.

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