Regular followers will know that we have been watching two pregnant vixens over the winter months, and as sure as spring follows winter we are now seeing some lovely fox cubs. They appeared in early April, at around six weeks old. I first spotted them on the trail camera footage.
The parent vixen of this group of cubs is Stumpy, the vixen with a shortened brush. She’s around 2 years old. Wolfy, the older vixen who I’ve photographed a lot over the last few years, vanished from the scene in mid-April, either because she has moved her brood due to competition from the younger vixen or, sadly, she may simply not have survived. We’ve not seen her cubs, but then neither did we see any of her brood last year. Our last sightings of Wolfy were of her sleeping in the garden in the early morning in mid-April.
I first photographed Stumpy and her new cubs in late April. This is one of my first pictures, and at this stage I was being ultra cautious not to disturb or spook her or the little ones. It was a lovely cute pose and a nice way to start things off. I just used a standard on-camera flash unit for this one.
The trail cam footage suggested there were six cubs in total, a fairly substantial brood for a young vixen. It also showed that the dog fox was playing his part in looking after the cubs. He is by far the most cautious of the foxes and I have only very rarely caught fleeting glimpses of him passing through.
Throughout these early photos I was careful to keep very still (movement sends the cubs scattering), and only gradually introduced a second flash unit to improve the lighting. The one drawback is that once positioned the off-camera flash can’t be moved and everything therefore depends on where the cubs choose to go. It’s good when it works though!
That’s enough for the first post in this series, but I can promise something very special in Part 2.
Camera note: all photos taken with the Canon 1DX Mark II and EF 70-200mm f/4.0L IS II USM lens.