Sunday, April 06, 2008
Mating Red Foxes at Bombay Hook NWR, DE January 2008
This day was just so awesome. My second trip to Bombay Hook NWR and I can't believe it.
It was supposed to be cloudy all day, and on Friday I was expecting Saturday to be a wash. But I went, and it was actually partly cloudy early. You just can't trust the weathermen that much.
It was in the 20's and a lot of the water was frozen over. I saw numerous foxes on the ice, a lot of them. According to Doug, who has gone here a bunch, the foxes were extra active and he saw around 8 or 10 of them early in the day.
I also ran in to Robert and Barry and his dad.
On the prowl - Red Fox at Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge
Early morning consisted of a number of foxes working the marshes and ice. In between periods of being active a couple times we could see them lay down, and rest, and clean themselves some.
Then this one made some good time along the edge of the ice, and stopped a few times to scent mark... In the above she (?) scent marks just before running across the road to a different patch.
Scent Marking - Red Fox at Bombay Hook NWR, DE
Having just scent marked the fox crosses the road and takes a moment to look behind her. Her plan is starting to come together.
Red Fox checks the trail she has set
(Red Fox at Bombay Hook NWR, DE)
Unable to resist her charms he follows his nose, it always knows... (lol, couldn't resist)...
He's hot on her trail
Red Foxes at Bombay Hook NWR, DE
The female made it in to the marsh/woods and he followed her in. A minute later the two of them came racing out. You can see her slightly submissive posture in the above...
The time draws near
Red Foxes Mating - Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge, Delaware
Having lured in the male with her charms, they began to mate, and actually mated continuously for the first hour or so! They then each settled in to the grass and slept for a while....
There had to be 7 or 8 photographers around for the much of the early activity, but most moved on including myself once they went to sleep. But this story doesn't end here...
Love is in the air....
Red Foxes Mating and Bonding at Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge
...when you're happy it shows. He's so happy I think he's dancing.
After initially mating for about an hour, they rested and then over the course of another hour or two mated and played a little. I'd have to guess that they were afraid of each other before they first got together. And with that out of the way they seemed to be more at ease with each other.
I'm really looking forward to going back and hopefully seeing some kits! I read a bit this weekend and learned that the males will stick around and help feed the female while she's pregnant (wiki)..
I have a hunch that when she marked the trail and he followed it was to where she has her den picked out. Had that been where she wanted to mate they would have never left the wooded area and come back in to our view along the marsh.
A Thousand Words
Together, they rejoiced!