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Smultroställe

The common meaning of this Swedish word is a special place discovered, treasured, returned to for solace and relaxation; a personal idyll free from stress and sadness.

Red Fox Kit, early morning wake-up.

For the last several editions, I have written about solitary travel – the beauty of being alone in nature. This long Mother’s Day weekend was a bit different!

Belted Kingfisher in evening glow.

My wife Stephanie and I went camping. Things occurred that do not normally happen on my solo trips: hand holding to a beautiful Salish Sea sunset; sharing the sounds of oyster catchers, kingfishers, hooting owls, and red-winged blackbirds; a roaring campfire; snuggling in the truck; better food and an expensive bottle of port. Pretty idyllic. Definitely solace and relaxation, and a reprieve from stress for both of us – even if only for a few days.


Besides getting away together, we had a goal of hopefully taking images of the Red Fox. I had done a similar solo trip last year (returning for that solace), but numbers were low, I was late, and the weather was typical for here in the Pacific Northwest. This year was different, and we were not disappointed. We found several dens, all with multiple kits (young pups) and good sun.

"Silver" Red Fox Mom and Kits.

Red Fox live in many diverse habitats including forests, grasslands, mountains, and deserts, as well as farms and communities. While they may be present across North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa, we rarely get to see them.

The family that plays together!

Most of my earlier photos of Red Fox have been taken in the approaching dark or in a dense marine layer. So frustrating. Adult fox weigh in around five to thirty pounds, and the little guys and girls we saw this weekend are only several weeks old and much smaller. Red Fox are distinguished by a reddish coat, white-tipped tail, and black legs, but they can be auburn, black, silver, or yellow. The fox adults and kits we found were a true spectrum of colors.

Good morning! Just about ready to have my photo debut.

We found them on the edges of forest, and primarily in the grasslands. Red Fox can be inquisitive, so you need to work to respect their wild space and remain at least 75 feet or more away. Probably the biggest threat to Red Fox are humans, either hunting them, road kill, or feeding them which makes them unafraid of people.


Having a good camera and a long lens is essential. We misjudged where we thought a den was located, set up our cameras in early morning, sun to our backs, and were intently scanning the grass with our binoculars. After about an hour of no activity, Stephanie turned around to find momma and five kits (six white tails, a dozen black tipped ears) watching us look for them. We had to pack up and move away to keep our distance.

I see you! Playing on the forest edge.

Red Fox and Grey Fox are not listed as threatened, but they are canids which also includes dogs, jackals, and wolves. See below for the State of Idaho’s most terrible recent legislation that looks to kill 90% of the state’s wolf population.

California Quail on post.

“The journey is part of the experience – an expression of the seriousness of one’s intent. One doesn’t take the A Train to Mecca.

Anthony Bourdain, A Cooks Tour:

Global Adventures in Extreme Cuisines


End Note -- Idaho State Bill 1211

Idaho’s Governor signed SB 1211 into law on May 5th, 2021. The bill allows the State’s wolf population to be reduced from approximately 1,500 wolves to 150 and would allow baiting (poison), the use of aerial gunning and snowmobiles, night vision equipment, snares, and contractors hired to kill wolves. The bill will allow the killing of new-born pups if found on private land. The bill is based on politics and not science, and is opposed by the Idaho Sportsman, Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game, and wildlife managers.


To oppose this legislation and the killing of wolves across Idaho:

Call Governor Brad Little at 208-334-2100.

Follow up with an email to governor@gov.idaho.gov

Explain why you will not spend your tourism dollars in a state that wantonly slaughters wildlife.

Sign the petition at www.change.org/p/brad-little-stop-the-idaho-wolf-cull-sb1211


Thanks to www.flatironsphotography.com for posting an excellent article on this legislation and providing much of the contact information.

For additional information:

www.outsideonline.com

www.nrdc.org



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