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Sunday, February 12, 2017

Red Fox Sightings and Screen shots from the Simon King Wildlife Web Cams for February 6-12

In case if you haven't seen my last post, I stumbled across some fox web cams at www.simonkingwildlife.com and have been watching both of the web cams.  Considering there are not very many screen shots of red fox sightings, I thought I would start a thread sharing my own sightings.  Whenever I see a fox I will try and get a screen shot of it (not always) and will share my results once a week (usually Sundays or Mondays, tentatively).  These are screen shots I got from both web cams

Here is a red fox posing for the camera.  He seemed to be eating something (I think the camera men put out seeds and other food items that the animals can eat).

Here is the same fox in full view of the camera.  Fox sightings usually only last for about a minute or 2 at a time, though they can be shorter or longer.  They also seem to be timid and can run off easily (probably camera shy)

Here is a picture of a badger I saw.  The badgers are the other stars on these cams and do make appearances occasionally, usually at night

Here is a closer up screen shot of the badger feeding in front of the camerra

Here is a fox and badger feeding together.  They seem to have a love - hate relationship.  Sometimes they get along just find, and at other times, they to have a tendency to chase each other.

I got a photo of this fox right in front of the camera.  He seemed to be cowering at something (maybe being camera shy, though there was also a badger near by and may have reacted to it too). 

Here is another view I got of the red fox.  I like how they tend to come right in front of the camera.  Can be a good opportunity for close up screen shots.

Those are all of the pictures I have so far.  This will be an ongoing topic for this year (given my new found interest in foxes), so I am sure I will have more to share over the next several weeks.  By the way, you can find these fox web cams at http://www.simonkingwildlife.com/page/live-cams/fox-family-cam-966 and http://www.simonkingwildlife.com/page/live-cams/badger-fox-feeder-cam-964

Tips on watching for foxes (based on my experience):
- Most sightings I have had occur at night (London time).  If you are having trouble seeing them during the day, you may want to try watching for them at night.  Though during the day other kinds of animals are often present, including squirrels, mice, and birds  Like I said in the last post, you will want to note the time zone difference.  Sure if you live in the United Kingdom and want to see the cameras at night, be sure to visit the Simon King website after dark to check the web cams for animals (I understand foxes may come out during the day too, though I believe the chances of seeing them are better at night as they seem to be more active then).  Personally, I live in the Seattle area, and there is a least an 8 hour difference between Seattle time and London time (if it is 10:00 pm here, it is about 6 am there), but wouldn't know where all of my readers live (though when in doubt, you can google what time it is in London to see what time it is there).   
- Patience is key when watching the camera(s).  In my experience, most of the time nothing happens, but every now and then (especially at night) you are likely to encounter a fox or two if you check the cameras often.  Since sightings tend to occur at random, I can't guarantee you will see a fox every time (sometimes you will see them and sometimes you won't) and usually when they do appear, they are only there for a short period of time (usually about a minute or two, more or less), but when they do appear, you can see them walking in front of the camera, eating the feed left out of them, interacting with other animals, checking out the camera, and even running off.  Be sure to take screen shots of sightings if you do have encounters you want to share. 
- There doesn't seem to be any audio on the web cams, so it is impossible to hear anything in the video.  Would be nice though (such as hearing footsteps or animals moving around in the bushes, or even animal calls, like the vixen screams or howls). 

- I don't own any of the web cams nor do I own Simon Kind Wildlife or their website.  I am merely an observer and blogger and if you have questions, comments or concerns, I am sure you can contact the webmasters there directly (see http://www.simonkingwildlife.com/page/contact).
- All of the screen shots are based on the sightings I have had on the cameras and might not necessarily be the same experiences other people are having with them. 
- I can't make any guarantees about sightings either.  Sometimes you will see foxes, sometimes you won't.  Lot of it is luck, patience and timing, along with other factors, such as time of day, weather, etc.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Zoos in Japan: Miyagi Zao Fox Village

Here is another take on Fox Village.  I can't say I have ever been there before, but might be worth a visit someday if I ever visit Japan.  Zoos in Japan: Miyagi Zao Fox Village: In Japanese folklore, foxes are depicted as intelligent, mystical creatures that possess the ability to change their appearance - often t...

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Watch wild red foxes on web cam

Have you ever wanted to see a red fox in the wild but don't know where to look with them.  Let's face it: the red fox is a pretty well known animal in most of the northern hemisphere and has a huge range all across Asia, Europe and even North America (Australia too), but these animals are quite elusive and can be diffcult to find and are often most active at night.  To date, I have only seen 2 red foxes in the wild myself (once at Penninsula State Park when I was a kid in Wisconsin and once near Monroe Washington).  Anyways, if you ever want to see a fox in the wild, you are in luck.  I stumbled upon some web cams at http://www.simonkingwildlife.com/page/live-cams/fox-family-cam-966 and http://www.simonkingwildlife.com/page/live-cams/badger-fox-feeder-cam-964

Here is a screen shot of a red fox I got on the Fox Family web cam at http://www.simonkingwildlife.com/page/live-cams/fox-family-cam-966 if you visit their website and watch the camera, you just might see a live fox in action (along with other animals)
I came across these sites just a few days ago, but the cams can be pretty interesting to watch.  They can seem boring and uneventful at times, but every now and then you are likely to see some animals, including mice, squirels, birds, badgers, and maybe even a fox or two.

Here are some of the other screen shots I got:

Here is a red fox "posing" for the camera on the badger fox camera.  Looked like he (I have no idea what gender the foxes are, so I will refer to them as he generic).

Here is the fox walking into full view of the camera.  Note that the foxes are most active at night in my opinion.

Here is a badger on the camera

Another picture of the badger
I have been watching the 2 cameras off and on the last few days and I have definitely had several sightings of the foxes (alot more than I have here at home).  Sightings are most common at night and usually last for about a minute or two before the foxes move on or get scared away (probably camera shy). I think the people filming the foxes leave out food for them to eat (can be a clever way to attract them) and sometimes they can be seen eating in front of the cameras.

Here is a video on youtube that talks about the backstory of the fox family camera:

Interestingly the web cams even caught a burgler once too (I guess he wasn't expecting to be on camera)

Well, that is all for now (btw you can see more of their videos at https://www.youtube.com/user/simonkingwildlife)

Notes and tips on viewing the web cameras for foxes:
- Sightings are going to be hit and miss.  Sometimes you might see the foxes and sometimes you won't.  Patience is key here, though I find that if you check back often, you are likely to see one sooner or later
- There is more than one cam.  2 I often check are the ones of the garden and the badger fox cam.  If you don't see anything happening in one camera, you can always check the other one.  Tabbed browsers like Microsoft Edge can be useful for watching both cameras
- Watch for lags as I have noticed that there tends to be a lag sometimes when watching the footages.
- foxes aren't the only animals you are likely to see.  You may also see squirels, rabbits, badgers (at least on the badger cam), birds and even mice.
- Best time to watch for foxes (and badgers for that matter): night time (London time).  While they may come out in the day sometimes, your best bet for seeing foxes come out is at night.  All of the sightings I have had so far take place at night, london time.  Obviously, living in on the West coast in America myself, there is at least an 8 hour time difference between Seattle and London, so you do have to factor in the time zone difference too.
- Encounters with foxes are likely to be brief too as they usually run off after a about a minute or two (probably shy of the cameras).

Be sure to take screenshots of sightings you encounter if you want to share them (I use Printscrn and paint for capturing screen shots).

Feel free to check out the cameras and share your experiences in the comment section below.  I can't promise you will have sightings, but you never know.  I have seen several different foxes (they usually come out randomly) on the cams since I have started watching them, all night time sightings, so if you don't see them right away, be sure to check back periodically.

Disclaimer: I don't own www.simonkingwildlife.com nor am I affiliated with them in any way.  Just an independent blogger.  if you have any questions about the cameras or the wildlife sighted on them, you are welcome to contact the owner of that website (alternatively, you can connect with them on twitter and youtube).

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Hudson meets snow!

Hey, did any of you see this guy yesterday?  Yeah, here in the Seattle area we got a pretty good dose of snow Sunday night and even today there is still snow on the ground and this arctic fox Hudson definitely seems to be enjoying it (they are probably used to the cold considering that arctic foxes originate from the far north and winters here are probably mild to them in comparison to how it is in say Barrow Alaska for example).  I like how the fox pounces on the snow, probably thinking that there is mice under it (foxes are known hunt for mice by pouncing on them under the snow).  Not sure if there was mice or not, but still cute to watch.  Video was posted by the Woodland Park Zoo channel and was on the news.  I haven't been to the Woodland Park Zoo yet this year, but I did go to the Point Defiance Zoo last month and they too have arctic foxes (like the ones I shared yesterday).  Will probably visit the Woodland Park Zoo in the summer sometime.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Point Defiance Zoo January 2017

The arctic fox was probably my favorite attraction and a highlight of this year's visit.
Bears, wolves, elephants, and foxes oh my.  In case if you didn't know I got a new go pro for Christmas and what good place to take it than Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium.  It was well in the winter I went, (contrast to going there in the summer a few years back) and in addition to seeing the usual animals, I also went with the idea of getting footage of the red wolves and arctic foxes, and to my luck both animals were out.  I even listened in on one of the zookeeper talks about the red wolves. Here are pictures below and commentaries.  Note that some of the pictures I took were with the go pro and others were with my windows phone (both have their pros and cons).

Doing a selfie at the zoo entrance.  Interestingly I actually drove by the woodland park zoo on the way down to Tacoma from Everett (decided to do the highway 99 and 509 routes going through Seattle).  I thought about going to Woodland Park, but I was just there back in the summer and was definitely overdue for going to Point Defiance again.  

Yes you are seeing that right: there is a crane in the park.  The zoo was in the process of building a new aquarium as well as rennovating the "rocky mountain" portion of the park.

Tried to get pictures of the elephant.  Despite the wintery weather there was still a good number of people visiting the zoo and we were watching the zoo keeper feed the elephants.  By the way, the Woodland Park Zoo no longer has elephants, so if you happen to visit the Seattle area and want to see elephants at the zoo, you will probably want to visit Point Defiance Zoo (either that or the Portland Zoo).  It is not clear if or when the Woodland Park Zoo is planning to get new elephants, but for now, Point Defiance Zoo is your better bet for seeing them..

Snapped photos of ducks in the elephant's enclosure.  

The zoo had a bunch of asian tigers on display and I tried to snap photos of them.  Challenge with using a go pro is that you can't zoom in on what you are trying to take pictures of (plus you don't really know how they turn out till you get home and load them on the computer).  

Another picture of the tiger enclosure

No trip to the Point Defiance Zoo is complete without visiting the aquarium.

Tried to snap photos of the fish tank.  Some of the pictures were a little out of focus.

Jellyfish.  By the way the Puget Sound is full of them.

Sea anenomies

Here is a closerup picture of the new aquarium being built.  By the time I am there again, (maybe next year) maybe it will be done.

Walrus feeding time.  There was crowd watching the walrus getting fed, so it was hard to snap a photo of the animal from a good angle.

Here is another picture of the walrus

Now visiting the red wolf exhibit.  By the way, red wolves is almost exlusive to the point defiance zoo (at least here in the Pacific Northwest) as the Woodland Park Zoo has the more traditional timberwolves instead.  Red wolves are considerably smaller than timber wolves and seem to have a coyote like appearance (some people have confused them for coyotes to even though they are actually wolves).

Ahead was a shed where you can find more info on the red wolves.

Here is the Muskox exhibit.  

This is the reindeer exhibit.  I remember jokingly calling him rudolph after rudolph the red nosed reindeer (hey it was Christmas season a few weeks before).

Now approaching the arctic fox exhibit.  The foxes were definitely a highlight of the visit.  One perk about going in the winter is that you are almost guaranteed to see them (unlike in the summer months where they can hide due to the hot weather, as was the case for back in 2015) and they have their fluffy white coats.  

Yeah, on challenge of getting pictures with my go pro (especially at the arctic fox exhibit) is the the sun often tends to get in the way.  Obviously during this time of year, days are considerably shorter and the sun sets earlier.  It was in the afternoon and the sun did have a way of getting in the way when taking pictures.

Although it is hard to see the arctic foxes from this angle, they were out there.  

Here was one of the foxes.  Interestingly one definitely seemed to be more active than the other.  There was a second fox in the enclosure, but he seemed to napping near the back of the pen (probably more shy around humans than the other fox).

Here is a better shot of one of the foxes (though the best ones I got were with my Windows phone)

There is the other fox.  Less active than the other one.
Here is a more clear picture I have of the foxes.  Used my windows phone to snap photos too and was able to zoom in on them.  By the way, on Instagram, I nicknamed this fox "Tails the arctic fox" (you know Tails from Sonic the Hedgehog, despite Tails actually being a red fox instead of an arctic fox). 
The foxes definitely seemed to be enjoying the sun.  They were both sunbathing at times.  
Here is a "then" picture of the arctic foxes at the Point Defiance Zoo back in 2012.  I remember posting that one on Facebook

Here is a bulliten board that talks about the foxes.  If you are looking to see arctic foxes, Point Defiance Zoo, Woodland Park Zoo and Olympic Game Farm (in Sequim) all have arctic foxes (will have to get pictures of the arctic foxes at the Woodland Park Zoo sometime).  The Portland Zoo doesn't seem to have any last I checked and I am not sure if the Vancouver Zoo in British Columbia does either (though you have to go across the border to visit that zoo).  By the way, arctic foxes don't exist in the wild here in Washington (they are way up north in the arctic regions) though there are supposedly red foxes in the state, though they are pretty elusive and hard to find in my opinion, unless if you know where to look and usually come in the form of coyotes too (though I did have my first sighting of a red fox here in Washington back in December when I saw what looked like a cross phase red fox near Monroe Washington at night).  By the way if you are looking for the more traditional red foxes, I have heard that Northwest Trek in Eatonville has them.  Next time I visit Northwest Trek (tentatively planning a trip this spring) I will try and get footage of them (especially considering that pictures and videos of them are hard to find on the web).

Check out this photo: very up close picture of the arctic fox.  I haven't gotten closeup pictures of foxes like this one up till now.  I remember trying to get pictures of them at the Woodland Park Zoo last summer, but they were out of focus, but like I said earlier, I wanted to get pictures of the arctic foxes while i was there and I did just that (and they have their white coats too).  There were actually at least 2 foxes in the enclosure but this one seemed to have more energy and was not nearly as shy around visitors like the other one is.  He would often run laps around his enclosure and stop to watch visitors too.  Though he did seem to be somewhat camera shy when I filmed him with my go pro camera.  If you are looking to see some arctic foxes here in the seattle area,  both Woodland Park Zoo and Point Defiance Zoo have them.  My recommendations: if you are wondering about when is the best time of year to see arctic foxes at the zoo, I would probably recommend going sometime in the winter months (though I am sure late fall and/or early spring will do as well) as they seem to be most active in the colder months.

Here is one last picture I got of the arctic fox.  I think this is the other one that was "hiding".  He definitely seemed to be soaking up the sun.

Here is a closer up photo of the red wolves.  I dubbed his name "Willie" (from Wille Coyote on Looney Tunes).  I also listened in on the zookeepr talk about the wolves too.  Apparently like their cousins here in the north, the red wolves are also recovering from near extinction and the Point Defiance Zoo has teamed up with other zoos and organizations on helping them recover in the wild.  I suppose one good thing about zoos for animals is that they help preserve them.  If it weren't for efforts to help the red wolves, they might have been extinct by now.

Here is the red wolf curled up sleeping.  He was up later when the zookeepr was giving a talk.  Interestingly there are at least 4 red wolves you can see at the Point Defiance Zoo (with 2 of the younger wolves being in one enclosure and the 2 older wolves being in another enclosure)

Here is the red wolf looking at the camera

Hey, it is Rudolph the reindeer going on a long needed vacation after helping Santa Claus back in December (just kidding).  

Hungry goats.  I wanted to feed them, but didn't have any quarters on me during my visit to the zoo.  Didn't see any atm machines either there so I couldn't get extra cash for them.  If you plan to feed goats, you will probably want to bring extra cash with you before going to the zoo as they don't seem to have atms anywhere.

Another picture of the goats

Here is a goat waiting for treats

Despite being in the middle of January it was gorgeous day to visit the zoo.  Even did the 5 mile drive too.

I left around 3ish, but it was already starting to get darker out.
Bonus Content: Point Defiance Park

Tip: whenever you visit Point Defiance Zoo and have extra time to spare, I might recommend visiting the Point Defiance Park and even doing the 5 mile drive loop.  It is a pretty big park and you do get plenty of views of the puget sound, dash point (highway 509 goes right too Dash Point from Tacoma and has lots of similarities to Chuckanut Drive and Larabee State Park in Bellingham), Kitsap Penninsula, Vashon Island, and even the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.  You are also pretty close to the Vashion Island Ferry terminal too, and could opt to ride the ferry if you want to (though that would have to be a separate adventure for me).

Here is a big map of the park.  

Sun was slowly starting to set, but I was able to get pictures of the sound.  The 5 mile drive closes at dusk, so I had to manage my time well to get through in time.

Tried to snap a photo of this raccoon.  If you are looking for good places to see raccoons in the wild, I highly recommend visiting the 5 mile drive as the park is loaded with them and are pretty common in my opinion (especially in the afternoon and early evening hours).  I usually encounter a bunch of them there.  It was tricky to get clear pictures of them as they run around pretty quickly, plus I was driving and had people behind me (yes the 5 mile drive does has its share of aggressive drives).  Raccoons are probably the most common animal you are likely to see there. I have heard that red foxes have a presence there too but I have yet to see one for myself (it is definitely easier to see arctic foxes at the Point Defiance Zoo than to see red foxes at Point Defiance Park in my opinion).  Interestingly, I have looked for pictures and/or videos of red foxes at Point Defiance online, haven't seen anything on them other than an article about a dead fox that was apparently killed by poachers (http://blog.thenewstribune.com/crime/2009/04/01/fox-found-dead-in-point-defiance-park-officials-want-suspicious-activity-reported/), but I want to believe they are around there and am curious to see if any of you have seen them there.  If you have any pictures or videos of red foxes at Point Defiance Park feel free to share them.  

No trip to Point Defiance Zoo is complete without doing the 5 mile drive at least once.  Definitely a good scenic drive to do and offers plenty of views of the woods, the puget sound, kitsap penninsula, and even the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.  You can also visit Fort Nisqually too if you wanted to.  Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for raccoons and possibly red foxes as you might see them along the way.  You may even encounter a ghost too if you go just after dark (apparently it is a haunted road), though I have yet to encounter the ghost myself.

Another picture of the raccoons

Lots of viewpoints to see and get out and stretch.

Well, those were all of the pictures I got.  Kinda wish I could have gotten more pictures of the elephants, tigers, and even the polar bears, but that would have to be something for another trip.

Other Zoos I am tentatively planning to visit this year (given the opportunity):
- Northwest Trek.  It has been at least 6 years since I was there last and am definitely due for another trip there.  I also want to try and get pictures and videos of the red foxes they have too.  Not sure when I will go, but probably sometime in March or April.
- Bearizona Wildlife Park.  It is official, my family is planning a trip to Grand Canyon later this year and I have heard about about Bearizona (which is relatively close to there near Flagstaff).  I can't make any promises about visiting that zoo as I will be at the mercy of the rest of my family's intersts, but if I get an opportunity to go there, I will be sure to check it out.
- Maybe Woodland Park Zoo.  I might try and go to the Woodland Park Zoo in the summer sometime.

Also: American Camp on San Juan Island.  I have heard that San Juan Island (particularly the American Camp area) is loaded with red foxes and I am definitely overdue to visiting the San Juan Islands again and want to see the foxes for myself.  I might get an opportunity to go there in april (was invited to a family friend's wedding at Roche Harbor), but it falls in the same month when my middle brother and his wife are supposed to have their baby, and if it falls on the same weekend as the wedding, I won't be able to attend and even if I do make it to the wedding, I can't make any promises about visiting the American Camp area (would likely have to be a separate trip).  Though I have heard that even Roche Harbor gets their share of foxes, so I will have to keep an eye out for them if I go there.

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