The foxes of San Juan Island

We have foxes here in Ashland but they’re very skittish and I’ve only seen them at night (and fleetingly).

But on San Juan Island in a protected area known as American Camp, foxes are quite accustomed to us tourists.

I discovered recently that tourists sometimes feed the foxes, which probably explains why. And while I did encounter one fox who appeared to be begging, most were content to be off hunting for fox food.

Watching foxes on the hunt can be (for those of us not being hunted) quite entertaining. Above the sea of high grasses they will emerge, dolphin-like, as they pounce on their prey.

Here we have one mid-pounce onto what I imagine is a Townsend’s Vole.

In this instance, the Vole remained a step ahead (or a step underground).

If you visit American Camp, hang around a bit. You can’t beat the view.

PS: I learned that red foxes don’t need to be red. The white-tipped tail is their distinguishing feature.

And now one of the foxes is the star of our acclaimed short story anthology Among Animals:



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  1. Sometimes you have to just pull over and wait awhile. One day I hung around for about an hour and then I saw two pass by in about fifteen minutes.

  2. Hi John,
    I am writing to ask permission to share your fox jumping photo to promote the San Juan Islands as a filming destination in a Washington Filmworks newsletter. I would make sure you received photo credit.

    Also would you be willing to share a high resolution version for print media or if there is a charge for that what would it be.

    Thanks and I love your photography, Barbara Marrett, communications manager.

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