Click Click Click Went the Kit

Another month and the quota resets.  Last month was a big posting month as I tried to get as many in before going through the rigor of updating my Birding Life List.  I realized while doing that why I do not do it more frequently – IT’S A LOT OF WORK!  But now that it’s done I can start building up for the next list update.  So to kick the new cycle off right let’s go with another bird post…

What!?! I know, I know, I promised a non-birding post last time.   Well, I always try and keep my promises so time to check out the queue and see what options are available.  Hmmmm bird, bird, another bird, hey that bird is cool, a bird… a bird…. wow, I have a lot of bird posts still in the queue.  Wait a minute, hold the presses.  That isn’t a bird – score.

This is a story of a mother and her kits living out West in the beautiful but dangerous confines of Yellowstone National Park.  One sunny afternoon the mother – let’s call her Foxy – was keeping a keen eye on her surroundings.  Looking straight, looking left, looking right and always keenly aware of what was behind her.   Ears up, threat assessing all that came within her sight perimeter.

Foxes shot at Yellowstone National Park

And why was Foxy in such an highly alert state?  Because her most valuable assets were out and about enjoying the fine Yellowstone afternoon.  Assets that had many enemies and little capability to defend themselves. These precious assets were, of course, her kits.  Each was busy doing what kits do best – playing.  One was busy stalking an unwary intruder

Click Click Click went the Kit

Foxes shot at Yellowstone National Park

Hit the jump to see how this little story turns out

Through cunning and stealth it had tracked its prey all the way to the den.  Now it was cornered and time to bring in reinforcements.  Look! a miniature Badger has invaded our home.  Wonder Twins Unite in the form of a ice claws and an ice bucket (sorry, inside joke which is pretty much what I thought of the Wonder Twins).

Click Click Click went the Kits

Foxes shot at Yellowstone National Park

Hey, Mom’s not looking – tag you’re it.  But I’m going to kill that little Badger thingy.  Oh hell, there’s plenty of time to be all grown up le…t- smack, now you are it.  Sneaky bastard!

Click Click Click went the Kits

Foxes shot at Yellowstone National Park

Meanwhile Foxy looked on.  Eyes sharp, ears up and nose out.  Still clear to the left, still devoid of danger to the right, nothing visible to the front and threat level zero from behind.

Foxes shot at Yellowstone National Park

And the Kits played on.  Roughhousing under the pretense their mother wasn’t paying attention.  Tackling each other, pouncing on an exposed back, friendly clawing each other from below.  The winner clearly being whoever gets control of the other in their game of wildlife grapple.

Click Click Click went the Kits

Foxes shot at Yellowstone National Park

After a hard fought ground battle, one kit gains the advantage.  He goes in for the playful kill shot – this badger is done for …. ummph an unsuspecting side kick finds its mark.

Click Click Click went the Kits

Foxes shot at Yellowstone National Park

Children!  Oh crap, she was watching us.  It was his fault Mom, he attacked me while I was trying to rid the den of a nasty Badger.  Liar – you know the youngest is ALWAYS messing with me.  Settle down cautions Foxy, I saw the whole thing because I have eyes in the back of my head.  Oh, and child that was a grasshopper not a Badger.  Badgers have giant claws and nasty dispositions.  You will need to be schooled in the Fox-Fu if you are ever going to be able to defend against one of those.  All the time Foxy knows that their roughhousing will someday save their lives when the shit gets real.

Click Click Click went the Kits

Foxes shot at Yellowstone National Park

What was THAT!  Something moved over there – quickly children, head to the Den.  There is little rest for parents inhabiting our first national park.

Click Click Click went the Kits.

Foxes shot at Yellowstone National Park

False alarm.  Foxy finds no threats especially no Badgers which can immediately turn a happy afternoon into a day of reckoning.  The day remains calm and Foxy decides to take some precious time off to actually enjoy the scenery and make some bonding time.

Click Click Click went the Kits

Foxes shot at Yellowstone National Park

Mommy, thanks for taking care of us and making sure no mean nasty Badgers serve us up for dinner.  You’re welcome little one, now you just relax and enjoy your Summer.  Stressing is for grownups.


Click Click Click Click Click Click Click Click Click went the Kits.

Foxes shot at Yellowstone National Park

By the way, Mom, what are all those clicks I keep hearing?  No worries my little Kit – see over there to the left.. standing in the grass over there … well, those are photographers and every time you do something cute they press that little button on those black boxes with the  large glass sticking out the end.  By the looks of it, my little Kits are the stars of the park!

So, we were out visiting Yellowstone National Park with our friends David and Dr. G.  While driving through the park we noticed a number of cars in a pulloff with some people milling around.  Always the curious lot we pulled in to see what was up.  What was up was the discovery of a fox den a couple hundred feet up the hill.  Everyone was waiting around to see if they would come out for some posing.  About that time nature called so I headed over to some pit toilets.  All of a sudden I hear a tremendous amount of commotion outside.  For all I know, Yellowstone has decided to erupt.  I came out and saw everyone running about the place, grabbing cameras, tripods, movie records etc.  World War Z had nothing on this chaos.  Eventually they all line up at the base of the hill – 4 to 5 deep all with big glass pointed at the den.  I wish I could find the picture Linda took of all the people (maybe David has one).   Every single time one of those Kits did something interesting those shutters lit up like Irish tap dancers.  We chuckled every time it happened – of course, we were contributing to the click fest as well.

The specific use of the Badger threat was intentional.  We learned the next day that a Badger had shown up at the den with bad intentions.  It had entered the den, but somehow Foxy and the Kits had made it out of there unharmed.  Are sources informed us that Foxy had her mate take them off to a second den a safe ways off.  Pretty sure I heard Foxy put up quite the fight with the Badger that ended with the Badger staying in the den and Foxy keeping close watch from the outside.   She wanted that den back and was willing to risk another battle to get it back.  We saw Foxy watching the den that day but didn’t stay long enough to see how the drama played out.  Now for the rest of the story.  You’ve probably already seen the nasty Badger – remember that previous post about my encounter (link here) – that encounter happened earlier in the day before.  Where it was shot was just up the road from the den.

That’s the way nature roles I guess!

This just in!! David was able to find some pictures of the photographers as referenced above (big thanks!)

So this is how they were stacked up – the den was up under the tree in the upper left – talk about a lot of money is a small space hehehe
Foxes shot at Yellowstone National Park - David's shot of other photographers

and he even included a shot of me out and about with the Beast…

Foxes shot at Yellowstone National Park - David's shot of yours truly

Thanks again for the shots – I remember you taking it but wasn’t sure you would be able to find them.


13 comments on “Click Click Click Went the Kit

  1. SkidMarks

    Hehe… I remember the camera clatter that day. I will have to check to see if I have any pictures of the throngs of photographers gathered that day. It was bordering on ridiculous to be sure.


  2. SkidMarks

    Emailed 3 of the scene. If you’d prefer any of those in RAW, let me know…

  3. admin

    Got them and added them into the post. Like I was saying, it was a shutter slap happy day! Thanks for taking the time to find them and send them my way.

  4. SkidMarks

    Funny thing is… I could have sworn you or Linda took a photo of a woman that walked in front of 1/2 of the cameras so she could get a better picture with her iPad… Does that ring a bell with you?

  5. admin

    That does sound familiar – I need to go back and see if I can find those pics – I may be getting confused with the bear incident that pissed off G hehehehe

  6. Ron

    Umm, regarding that last picture, I don’t really want to be the person to tell you this but you hold the camera with the big lens facing away from you.

    – Anonymous

  7. Ron

    Cute story!! You did one of these before and I liked it then, too. You could make a little children’s book with these photos and text using Lulu or the publisher you used for your dog book.

    And just ignore that anonymous person who just commented above. Not very polite of him/her to bring that up.


  8. admin

    I’m so good I don’t even need to look at my subjects when I’m photographing them hehehehe – and for the record, the glass is pointed directly at the kits – point and shoot.

  9. admin

    Me, children’s books??? are you crazy! … Mommy Fox – Hey kids, look at that damn asshole of a Badger over there. Kit … Mommy, can we get our legally obtained and properly cared for firearms and blow its damn head off before it tries to bite us in the ass…. me thinks this story might result in some soccer mom nervous breakdowns.

    It says anonymous but the top line says Ron says … hmmmm

  10. Ron

    Some other Ron must have made that crack about pointing your lens in the right direction. Really a rude person. Actually, your line about not having to look at your subjects when photographing them is really funny–it definitely goes with the picture! Touché! You might put that picture and a caption on your Smugmug site or something.

    This also reminds me of something I always think about when I’m out birding, and I mean thinking about ALL the time! I am carrying my camera, and I’m always pre-focusing to some point by pointing it from my hip at some bush or something at about the distance I think I might see a bird depending on where I’m at so when I lift the camera to take a picture I’ll be pretty close to the correct focus and can more quickly find and snap a picture when I see a bird. And, I think, it would be really cool to get good at shooting from the hip like gunslingers in the Old West, so I could just raise the camera to my hip and fire off a shot at a bird in a split second without lifting it to my eyes. This way I could get a fast shot, and then if I have time I could then raise it to my eyes and get better shots. So I picture myself out in the yard throwing rocks and stuff up in the air and quick-drawing my camera like in the westerns and shooting at them from the hip to get practiced, and I could see immediately from the display how I did. I’m not sure how cool that would look to others, though, so I thought maybe I could do that practicing in front of your house or when we’re out in the field birding together Saturday with other birders. What do you think?


  11. admin

    holy crap, that’s like 10 comments on this post – this may be a new record! Shooting from the hip eh… there are so many comebacks for this I don’t know where to start so I’ll go with the obvious … I thought that was already what you did hehehehe. You would have to convert to rear focus so you didn’t cause the lens to track unexpectedly. I also suppose you would be doing that on AUTOMATIC which means they can’t be used as a birding reference shot (or count)… but it would impress the hell out of the other photographers in the area (or make them die laughing not sure yet which yet). I am curious as to how much time you put into pre-focusing. I’ve never done that mainly due to how fast the 7000s can focus (and the 810 appears faster than that). Of course this all may be due to the fact I consider myself a photographer first and a bird second so I want to spend that extra few seconds getting the composition, mood, lighting, focus, aperture, shutter speed, ISO just perfect before I ever hit the shutter (believe that?)

  12. Ron

    The reason I pre-focus is so I can find the bird in the viewfinder so much faster. When it’s a blur you don’t even know where to focus until the area comes in focus (and by that time the camera has moved somewhat from where it was brought up) rather than focusing immediately on the bird. It’s not a problem at all to get into the habit of pointing my camera at where I am looking for birds and tap the shutter to pre-focus there, or at least in the general distance I think is in my field of view. I really think it helps find the bird.


  13. admin

    Seems like a good idea. I’ve also heard of people purposely overexposing bird shots in order to claim “new” bird sightings. Just what I heard… and possibly experienced in the field hehehehe

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