Wild Wonders of Europe… Mmmmh, remote places, peaceful, green and human-free zones… so my next mission is: London.
After Barcelona and the peregrine falcon, Wild Wonders of Europe sent me back to one of the most populated capitals in Europe to get some new pictures of red foxes… I have worked a lot with urban foxes but that was years ago. All the places I used to go have changed and the foxes have vanished. So I decided to talk about the project to half of the Londoners…
After an interview on BBC radio, a full page 3 in the local Guardian, emails sent to all my contacts, wildlife organizations and biologists, I thought it wouldn’t be too hard to find a nice den in an urban setting in or around London… wrong.
Last week I visited a good 15 gardens, but none was good enough for photographing. Either too bushy, too small, wrong orientation or the fox family had moved out a couple of days ago… I was worried to fail such an “easy” mission when a few days ago I decided to go back to a place where I used to shoot some urban wildlife.
Strangely I bumped into a guy I met years ago and he told me he was feeding a vixen that was coming every evening to a parking lot. Indeed, the female appeared around 6pm and gave me some good opportunity for the first day. But most importantly - she has cubs…
Two days ago I found her on a wasteland, sleeping in long grass in the early morning. I waited the whole morning and when she woke up, she dug out some food and went straight to a bush. The den is probably around, but as soon as she saw me following her, she ran and I lost her.
I stayed all day, and in the evening I followed her again to the parking lot where my friend was feeding her. This time she didn’t stay long. She grabbed some chicken bones and went back to the place where I had found her in the morning.
Once again I couldn’t keep up as she was trotting fast enough to loose me again, but I managed to spot one cub. She then came back to me, and seemed more relaxed. She stayed for a few minutes and even came up to smell my bag. I managed to follow her the rest of the evening; she was sniffing around, marking her territory and inspecting every new thing in her path.
This is the fourth day now and she seems to get used to my presence. Regularly, I make a light whistle - this is for her to recognize me when I look for her, and also to avoid surprising and scaring her. She allows me to stay around the bush, but as soon as one of the cubs comes out she rushes to push him back for cover… The next challenge is for her to accept me with her cubs. I still have five days for that…
Please note that blogs reflect our photographers' opinions and not necessarily those of the directors of Wild Wonders of Europe.