Last weekend PJ, Eli and myself went to the Lorraine in northern France with our good friend Jean Marie to have another try for European wild cats.
Because of the warm weather that had been predicted, meadows were to be cut, thereby attracting carnivores. We were hoping to score.
Getting up every day at 5h30 is so worth it here.
First warm days of the year and all animals seemed to be looking for something. Because spring makes you tickle your pickle.
Signs of spring were indeed ubiquitous.
Normally we spend all of our time looking for animals, implying landscape pictures get lower priority.
Yet this sunrise we just could not ignore…
The core area of wild cats, badgers and foxes in the Lorraine.
Birds were on the menu as well, as this wryneck was singing all the time.
Early morning, the silky light turns ordinary subjects into inspiring topics.
Since no cats were seen, we tried our luck deeper in the forest at day three:
There PJ saw something moving:
Hard to see at first but soon we realized that we were surrounded by tiny little fox puppies
First we saw one, then two more basking in the leaves.
It was intense. We decided to gear up… Sniper style, ensuring us to get close to the action.
And never looked better I think. We stayed at the den for two days.
Any strange noise in the forest, often made them run into the den. That usually ment several hours of waiting for them to come back.
But life in the forest can be hard…
Not only were we ourselves eaten alive by hungry mosquitos who found the weak spot in our camouflage outfits:
Also one of the puppies was bearing scars indicating an earlier predator attack.
We don’t know what happened to this puppy but its wounds were closed and looked to be healing. He was the most energetic of them all and it seemed to be just a flesh wound.
There was no chance for us to capture it because they instantly ran in their den as soon as you got closer… so we let him be.
Also nice to experiment with black-and-white:
Next weekend we will know how they are doing.
What an amazing experience to be able to spend two days with these puppies. Seeing how scared they are in the morning, how a passing woodpecker chases them in their den, and how they can go out and play after many hours of verifying the surroundings.
We felt privileged.
Thanks to Jean Marie for all his help and to Remy for info on cats.
Thanks to Manu for helping me with a replacement lens.