Category Archives: Landscape

January Foxes

I’ve been very neglectful of the blog in recent months and while I can’t promise to post as regularly as in the past, I will try to keep things ticking over. So in that context, here’s a short update of January. And that means foxes.

The winter months can sometimes be quiet, but this year three of the regular foxes have continued to stay around through the winter months. This is unusual as in most years the younger foxes have been driven off in autumn. At the moment though there are two younger foxes still around, plus Wolfy the adult vixen. There’s also a large dog fox who shows up occasionally, but I’ve only sighted him on the trail cam. He’s big, but he’s shy.

two young foxes

The two young foxes. The one on the right has last part of his brush.

These two are last season’s youngsters. The one with the short brush is the bolder of the pair and therefore gets photographed more frequently. The other fox tends to sit at the back of the garden when I’m out there, minding his own business until I retreat to the house. Neither are nearly as confident as Wolfy, their mother, who ventures all over the garden and will quite happily tolerate me.

fox

A typical shot of Wolfy near the front of the garden

And an ultra close-up shot of her.

But it’s not just been foxes. The mild winter has produced some earthstar fungi in a secluded corner of the garden. These are lovely little sproutings that open out into a puffball with fleshy wings forming a star around the centre. We have a little clump of them that appeared seemingly from nowhere!

earthstar fungi

Earthstar newly opened

The sky also offers great photo opportunities. This is the moon taken on a cloudy night. I shot it as a thin layer of cloud was passing in front of it, which allowed me to boost the shadows without burning out the moon itself. The colours embedded in the night sky are surprisingly varied. I’ve slightly boosted them in processing to create this image.

moon among clouds at night

This was a near full moon (99% illuminated), surrounded by clouds and giving a colourful halo effect.

I’ve also spent a little bit of time photographing local birds but I’ll save those shots for another post. Meanwhile here’s a couple more photos of the foxes.

young fox lying down

This is the fox with the shortened brush in a very relaxed mood.

fox at night

Wolfy at night

That’s all for the moment, but I’ll try not to leave it as long until the next post.

Also posted in Foxes, fungi, Moon, Wildlife Tagged , , , |

Out and About Around Brighton

In between all the foxes I’ve been spending a little more time out and about with the camera. Still all in the local area, but finding new subjects and places to explore. A few days ago I decided to explore the area opposite one of my usual haunts (Sheepcote Valley) and took a wander along the tracks that run between the meadows on the north of the main road. It was an eye opener. There were some lovely views across the valley, and loads of horses in paddocks.

horse in paddock

Horse in paddocks around Woodingdean, East Sussex

portrait of horse's head

Portrait shot

white hrose

White horse with view of houses in the distance

horse

Loved the colours on this horse and the soft reflected sunlight on the distant hill

That’s an area I’ll certainly be re-visiting.

A few days later I was really bold and wandered down into Brighton proper. I did have a particular subject in mind… the murmuration of starlings that takes place at sunset around the Palace Pier, but I was there much earlier which gave me some time in the afternoon. Apart from the usual shots of the i-360, I spend an age watching the Brighton Bubble Man entertaining the small crowd alongside the West Pier. The bubbles he creates are huge. Here’s just a few shots that worked out ok. Worth stopping by if you are ever down there.

giant bubble

Child’s hand reaching up to a bubble

Giant bubble framing the West Pier

Bubbles over the West Pier (by The BubbleMan)

A cup of coffee and a slice of cake later, the sun was beginning to go down and I got ready for the main event. Sunset was at 5.16pm and at 5.00pm I was still wondering whether anything would happen. There were starlings to be seen. But nature knows its stuff and as the sun went down below the horizon, small flocks of starlings started to gather and very quickly merged into a massive flock. And then they started the sky painting. This was my first attempt at murmurations and I made a few mistakes. I should have had more of the western sky in the shot (better colours), but my aim was to also grab plenty of the pier itself for context. I tried to keep the shutter rate high (above 1/250 with a decent depth of field). Inevitably it gets more difficult as the light disappears. I’ve included shots where the classic shape of the murmuration is more evident.

murmuration of starlings at Brighton

Murmuration of starlings at Brighton Palace Pier

murmuration of starlings at Brighton

Murmuration of starlings at Brighton Palace Pier

murmuration of starlings at Brighton

Murmuration of starlings at Brighton Palace Pier

I mentioned the advantage of looking west to catch the true colour of the sunset. These were taken shortly before the sun disappeared.

sunset brighton beach

West Pier (and i360) at sunset

sunset brighton beach

West Pier (and i360) at sunset

Camera note: all photos taken with the Canon 1DX Mark II. I used the EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM for the horses and the EF 70-200mm f/4.0L IS II USM lens for everything else.

Also posted in Birds, coastal, horse, Seaside Views, starlings, Sunset, Wildlife Tagged , , , , , , |

Fox Hopping

This is going to be another catch-up post, mainly on Wolfy our one constant fox visitor. I’ve also been tweaking the website so that there is now a new header and some more slight changes to fonts and overall layout. Most of this is the result of updating my theme (Photocrati) which has allowed more flexibility and improved performance with better back-end security.

Enough of the tech-speak> here’s a quick round-up of fox activity.

There are a couple of regular cats that share the garden, and one in particular who camps out at night. It’s a beautiful fluffy thing and while there are occasional run-ins with the foxes they generally steer around each other. Except when they don’t. In this shot Wolfy had been laying down across the path while I was taking photos. The cat was trying to get to the corner of the garden and rather than step around the fox it decided to give him a quick tap on his rump. Caught us both by surprise! The cat then ambled another two or three yards and sat down watching us.

fox and cat

Wolfy being pestered by a cat

We’ve also been trying to tidy the place up a bit, taking down some overgrown shrubs, including an out of control privet. Here’s Wolfy admiring the job (half done at that stage).

fox

Wolfy admiring our gardening

fox

Investigating garden cuttings

Towards the latter part of January we had a lunar eclipse. I missed most of it, but did wake up just after totality and grabbed this shot at 5.45am.

lunar eclipse

Lunar eclipse

The end of January saw us get a light covering of snow. This brought out one of the other foxes (one we don’t usually see).

fox in snow

Unknown fox in the snow

A couple of nights later (and after a second snow-fall), I managed to get some pictures of Wolfy in the white stuff.

fox in snow

Wolfy in the snow

fox in snow

Wolfy in the snow

fox in snow

Wolfy in the snow

Which brings me to the title of the blog. Somewhere on his travels Wolfy got himself injured. He picked up a very heavy limp on his right front leg, plus a cut on his head. This left him almost hopping about the garden.

fox with injured leg

Wolfy holding up injured leg.

I first spotted the injury on 4th February and he seemed to be struggling with it for about a week, though foxes are highly mobile even on three legs. Injuries like this are very common and pretty much an occupational hazard of being a fox. It’s all the climbing, jumping, scrambling over fences that places them at risk. Just about every fox we’ve known well has sported a limp at one time or another.

fox running with injured leg

Wolfy running with injured leg (on far side/front)

Thankfully he’s fine now (only the slightest hint of a limp left).

fox sitting

His foot seems to have healed and he’s now placing it on the ground and letting it bear his weight.

Finally, here’s a clip of a couple of the more elusive foxes out in the snow.

Camera note: all photos taken with the Canon 1DX Mark II and (as far as I can remember) the EF 70-200mm f/4.0L IS II USM lens.

Also posted in Foxes, Moon, Wildlife Tagged , , |