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An evening with foxes.

Hi, my name is Steve Moore and I live in Lowestoft, Suffolk. I work as a programme leader for my wife’s company, Butterflies Of Britain. B.O.B for short is a nature education programme which is designed to educate children about nature and wildlife. B.O.B was designed by my wife (Lindsey) in 2015 because we found that children and even adults didn’t know the basics about wildlife. We currently teach around 2000 children a week from baby groups through to upper primary schools. We travel all over Norfolk and Suffolk to carry out our sessions. The connection and excitement that children get seeing the natural world from worms to red kites. Remembering the time they saw a worm and take that knowledge home to carry it out in their back gardens or a local park is just amazing. Children are our future for conservation knowledge, knowledge is power so we need to educate, don’t matter what age we are we still learning.

I have been an amateur photographer for 16 years, I took the hobby up because I see so much when out and wanted to capture it.

The main skill for getting close to wildlife is field craft, looking for signs and tracks.

Once this basic knowledge is mastered then its positioning to get the shot. Nothing is easy and some encounters are very lucky. Time in the field studying the subject is key and even two of the same subject can act totally different.

My wife’s favourite animals are foxes (mine are otters and foxes), we have spent several hours watching these beautiful creatures.

In every setting that we have taught in there has been Fox dens or plenty signs of foxes. Many sites that we work in we always place camera traps up to show children who and what walks around when they are sleeping or working.

During the last few years we have spent time with a couple of families of foxes. One site we just sit back, study and photograph them. Over the 7 years we have seen several cubs but always hard to photograph as these ones mainly come out late at night due to the location. .

This photo was taken on the 28th may this year and surprising the different colour she is compared to other foxes we have seen.

The other site that we have been visiting for the last year and half is a site where the foxes come really close. Workmen around the area leave food out for them and they have had dens around the area for a several years. We spent time driving around this area and sitting and waiting to see a glimpse of a true urban fox but no success. Late nights were a weekly occurrence without a sight but then one Sunday early evening we saw her.

This is “Mum” and this is the first photo that I took a photo of her. She came and sat within 3 metres of the car and when I got out of the car to get my camera which was in the back seats all she done was gently backed away. She walked through a fence and behind a building, so with camera in hand I walked to the fence to see her sitting in the other side about 5 metres away from me. I called her and tapped my leg to say come on and as calmly as ever she just stood up and walked 3-4 metres beside me as we walked up the road like she was my pet. Over time she got to know our car sound and our voices, yes we feed her but I know that the workers feed her too. We didn’t go up to see her ever two or three days to make it regular, we just decided to go up if and when we wanted. I have even seen her hunting on the banks and verges and also living in Lowestoft we have plenty of gulls and pigeons. Even if we were waiting for her and a workman came over to see what we were doing and she came out she would look at the workman to say “who are you?” So I would just talk to her to say it’s ok. People are always shocked how close we can get to her even tho she’s wild.

Last July we thought we would go see “mum” and parked up and within 5 minutes she was there. Eating some of our leftovers Sunday roast with me laying on the floor to get a good shot we noticed another fox about 15 metres away. My wife started crying as we both realised that “mum” had brought her daughter “baby”.

“Mum” looked around to almost say it’s safe to come over. Both “Mum” and “Baby” are very beautiful with lovely stunning features. “Mum” with her little tear in her left ear and “Baby” with her big brown ears.

We go see the foxes in all weathers and all year round. We have to change in what we take, hot chocolate or tea, waterproofs or blanket, every time is different. Getting photos late night with only the orange glow of the street lights is very hard. I only had a canon 7d mark one with a sigma 150-600 lens. Shutter speeds were down to 1/30th of a second and ISO cranked up high as possible.

During the breeding season we saw an additional two foxes, another daughter who we call “dot” with black dot on her snout and “the male” staying away in the shadows. “The male” who has a square head and thicker body. He only came close when “mum” was close to us. The interactions with them when all together was amazing to see and hear. The vocals of foxes is so funny with there tails down between their hind legs and getting low to the floor as possible.

With these sad and horrible times we have been out seeing the foxes as no one is around and only a short drive to the site. As we are driving up the road and I see “mum” or “baby” I would call out to either one and then they would run up the road to come and see us. The time I’ve parked the car and got the camera out they are sitting and waiting for us.

This is “mum” who we believe has got cubs but we haven’t seen any yet. We know she’s feeding cubs as she takes food back to her den.

This is “baby” sadly we haven’t seen her for over three weeks now. We don’t know if she has been hit by a train but hard to say. It’s very sad as we have seen her for a year and she always come running when she see us. Such a lovely personality and calm around us. Always cautious round other people though. She will be missed, we believe she had cubs too but don’t know if “mum” would take them under her wing.

This is “dot” who is very cautious and always go the long way round. If “baby” was eating then “dot” would always stay about 30m away but if “mum” was eating then “dot” would come in grab some food then legit. Pointy nose and big round ears.

This is “the male” he normally stays in the shadows like a true fox. Only when “mum” is feeding will he come in to grab a bite.

I have had some amazing experiences throughout my photography hobby from orcas in Canada to otters up RSPB Minsmere, Red stags up Scotland to Robins up north Norfolk.

These foxes have been awesome and to gain their trust & develop a bond with them running after the car to come and see us.

We have four daughters and the experience we have gave them and the love we show to our wildlife is out of this world. Technology is overtaking our world but sometimes we have to embrace technology to our advantage to show children animals, creature or birds with cameras, camera traps and things like bat detectors. I can talk about my experiences but to show someone is better. I have meet so many wonderful people through wildlife and photography with taking my inspiration from people like Sir David Attenborough, Chris Packham and so many others.

Taken with my iPhone about 20cms away. Can You tell me who this is?

Thank you

Steve Moore

b.o.bphotography on Instagram


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