A Dodgy Drive to Cape St.Mary's Ecological Reserve...

Last Friday I finally made a trip out to Cape St.Mary’s Ecological Reserve. It had been on my to do list since May but each time I made plans to take the drive down there something prevented me from making the trip.

The Reserve is about a 2 hour long drive from my home and to be honest it is one of the worst drives I do each year; for many reasons. The first is that in order for me to arrive on location for sunrise I have to leave my home by 3 am at the latest and often times I leave earlier to allow myself to take the drive at a leisurely pace. The second reason I hate the drive is that 90% of the time I hit areas of fog which makes a night time drive even more difficult and also makes the following two reason even more scare. The third and most annoying part of the drive are the road conditions which to put it kindly are SHIT. There are sections of the drive that are under repair which means for what seems like 20 mins you are riding on a dirt road and not the nice small stones but big rocks which to be honest I still don’t know how I didn’t pop a tire along the way. Besides the dirt road section you spend the remainder of the drive dodging pot holes..the man eating size pot holes. So picture this..dark out, fog allowing you to only see about 5 feet in front of you then having to doge pot holes all while keeping your eyes out for the most dangerous part of the whole adventure…MOOSE..yup..and they are plentiful it seems along this drive. Of the 10 years I have been going to Cape St.Mary’s I have seen at least one moose on the side of the road along every journey and one trip I saw 10. Its a nerve racking ride down there but BOY is it worth it once you get there.

My main goal for this trip was not of the feather kind but for some furry creatures that have been growing big just outside the Interpretation Center..a Red Fox Family. Once arriving at the main parking area it didn’t take long for me to spot the three kits sitting on a small grassy hill in front of the center eagerly looking out over the barrens for I assume mothers return with breakfast.

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With no sign of mother it didn’t take long for the kits to move to the back of the center and begin to play.

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Sadly the light levels were still very low so many of the action shots during that time I missed since my ISO would have been throw the roof.

Playtime seemed to go on forever and the overcast light began to get a little brighter.

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With some much needed playtime out of the way it was time to check for mother again as I am sure their bellies were getting hungry

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With no sign of mom and a lot of energy spent this little guy decided to try and take a nap

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but it was so hard to do while its siblings continued to horse around behind it. Eventually the others took a much needed break as well

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Their naps were short lived as in a moments notice the kits were up on their feet and on the move to the front of the building. By the time I walked around I captured this brief moment between the cross fox kit and what I assumed was one of the parents (possibly the father) but after speaking with the Chris Mooney who works out at the Reserve, it appears it was one of last years kits helping out with raising this years young.

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and in fact there seemed to have been two last years foxes hanging around with this family as I spotted this Red Fox who made a quick appearance around the family and stopped for a little scratch

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With so many foxes running around it was difficult to keep track of all the action and without notice Mom seemed to appear out of no where and took center stage just as the sun peaked through the clouds.

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Of course the kits where excited to see Mom and wanted to play

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but clearly she was not in the mood to play

She was more focused on hunting and scanning the surrounding landscape…a little growl sent the curious kit running

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It was such a privilege to sit back and watch how the family interacted with each other and it was clear that having a buffet of seabird life right at there disposal has proven to be beneficial as the kits were looking very healthy.

Below are two of my favorite portraits of two out of the three kits during my outing.

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It was truly a wonderful experience to spend time with this family and to get a glimpse into their lives which is something not many of us get to witness. I do want to add that at no point did I need to chase around the foxes as they went about their business..I waited patiently for them to come within the range of capturing good images and upon leaving to head home I was treated to the most beautiful scene

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which to me just went to show how comfortable I made them feel with my presence and they were not threatened by me in anyway

Respect all that is nature