Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A little fox

Last night I was driving back to the cabin, and as I approached Roundtop I reached an open area near the north parking lot. As I always do, I slowed down and looked around and on the other side of the now-locked entry road, I saw a red fox standing in the middle of the road, with a tiny something at the fox’s feet that didn’t reach above the adult fox's knees. I couldn't tell what the little blob was, but there was something in the adult’ fox’s posture that made me think it was a little fox-ling.

So I drove into the ski area, and headed up the access road from inside the area. I pulled out my camera, rolled down my window and hoped that the fox would still be there. At first, I didn’t see anything and I thought the fox had simply gone into the woods. But then, I saw the little one.

This is the tiniest fox I’ve ever seen. It’s not even red yet, it’s mostly brown-ish. I never did see mom, but I heard her barking and encouraging the little one to move, which it did. Now this isn’t the best fox photo I’ve ever taken, but as it was dusk, and I was inside the car, it’s not too bad. I didn’t linger. I didn’t want to upset the baby and/or mom so I turned around and headed back to the cabin.

I’m sorry for the light blogging lately. I’ve been harboring a cold and haven’t been out all that much. I think I’ve turned the corner on this one, now, though, so I’m planning to resume usual blogging schedule.


The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

That's the smallest red fox pup I've ever seen, too. Can't be more than a few weeks old—and very few, at that. No need to feel apologetic for the image quality, either; this is plenty good enough. The rarity of the sight is what counts, and this shot easily gives anyone a good enough look at a really young red fox.

Hope you keep improving by the hour. Spring is no time to be under the weather.

It was cold here yesterday—mid-30s; today warmer but raining. And the river is again rising. But I found Dutchman's breeches up the road yesterday and bloodroot today…in spite of the rain.

Carolyn H said...

Griz: I was really surprised by the brown color of the little fox kit. I'd always assumed they were always red. This one still had baby hair--almost like peach fuzz. Maybe mother fox was moving it to a different spot??

Carolyn H.

Lynne said...

Cute! I've never seen a fox pup.

Hope you're feeling better. I've been pretty blog-lax lately too...

Carolyn H said...

Lynne, I do see fox pups here and there, but when I see them they are usually in that cute and bouncy stage, where they look like miniature adults. This little kit wasn't that far along yet.

Carolyn H.

Barb said...

How wonderful that you spotted the kit! Maybe it was on its first "walk" outside its den. Hope you're feeling better soon.

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

I'd bet this was a pup barely past opening its eyes. It just has that look of a really young canid. It's sure the youngest I've ever seen. And I'd also think you're exactly right…that mama was moving it to another den for a reason. I just wonder if this was the only one left from her littler? Also, I'd think maybe the vixen would carry the pup rather than allow one so small to walk—so maybe it was a long distance between sites and she put the pup down to rest and about that time heard your vehicle.

Whatever the story, you got to see something pretty special.

Hey…you feeling better? Hope so!

Cathy said...

First -hope you feel better.

Second. aww!!! it's cute! Glad you were able to see it. I'm too surprise that the mother had it out.

Carolyn H said...

Griz: your idea about the vixen carrying the pup is what I thought too. When I first saw the little blob next to mom, I couldn't really tell that it was a kit. It looked like a blob, so I think it was laying down, likely resting, at that point. Or perhaps mom was tired of carrying it. The foxes near my traditionally have a den near Roundtop's pump house across the road (the one I drove by on). However, at least since late fall, the foxes seem to be living across from my driveway and also behind the cabin. Perhaps that's where mom was taking it. I also think this vixen is a new mom, so perhaps she only had one kit. Or, if she was moving them, she could only move one at a time.

It certainly was a neat and rare sighting.

Carolyn H.