Traveling the backroads of the Yellowstone Eco-system, looking for treasures to share with you means that internet connection is sketchy and mostly non-existent. I can see that in future years I will just need to decide to take the month of July off from The Yellowstone Daily, while camping for the month, in order to more fully enjoy the experiences and have time and opportunity to explore for the good stuff. Will do another post or two before heading “home” to see my mom and son for a few days.
While camping in southern Yellowstone and after the recent bison carcass in Hayden Valley, I looked for clouds, vs clear blue sky and decided to head towards the Tetons and better light for photography. There was an idea that I might find a cow and calf moose that would be photographable but I never saw that pair.
I did, however, find a playful fox in the Signal Mountain area that gave me quite the thrill. I have always been bitten by fox fever, worse than by moose calf even, but have found them hard to find and photograph. I had been dreaming of finding a den and had worked very hard to do so but without luck.
The idea of watching and capturing interaction with a fox family tantalized me more than the dark chocolate sea salt caramels that I found at Costco. I simply hunger for wildlife family interaction and playfulness.
So, I lucked into some information about a fox den in the Greater Yellowstone Eco-system and on another day decided to go look. The information was decent but not exact and so I had to put my detective skills to work. There were 4 possible locations that they could be talking about but with a fox den one could wait for hours and hours for the foxes to appear. A little while later I heard a marmot alarm and thought it sounded like a fox alert. Sure enough, mama fox crossed my path right about then but she was not near the den at the time. I continued my search and found a raven hanging near one of the possible places. After checking around some more I decided to investigate where the raven had been and sure enough, there was a hole nearby.
I got myself some breakfast and set up for a very long wait. Hours and hours had gone by and I was thinking of giving it up. And then I realized that a fox kit was sitting in a different hole. I had the wrong one. One kit had slipped by me but this kit and I noticed each other at the same time. That viewing was fleeting but I now knew for certain that there were foxes.
Another hour or so had passed when suddenly I noticed mama fox with a mouth full of food, standing back in the trees. Now I got really excited at the thought of mom and kit interaction. She called the kits out of the den and they made a mad dash for her, going into the trees.
Bummed, I watched glimpses of fox behind trees, with one looking out at me from time to time.
And then mom came out to say hi and that was when I realized there were four kits, not three. One had been bedded int he forest.
After mom made sure her kids were safe she left to resume her endless hunting and all four kits came out into plain view to play for about 2 hours. I was in heaven. It was hard work trying to keep up with them and get the shots I wanted as they darted around and played, but it was fun.
Then, one by one the kits slipped into their den to rest. This den is very close to the road and I can only photograph it from my car. The traffic is whizzing past and loud trucks scare them. But, at one point I saw the kits looking at something interesting on the other side of the road and my heart stopped. This is not a good location and definitely one that doesn’t need to be talked about. But, I have had a wonderful time with these kits and the experience definitely nourished my soul.
Hope that you enjoy the photos – there are many of them!
Fox kit with a weasel