Early yesterday morning I trudged through the crusted snow to my favorite spot at Huntley Meadows Park. Along the way I saw a Bald Eagle and a hawk, so I knew that it was going to be a good day.
My favorite spot is a beaver pond in a somewhat remote area of the park. l like to sit at the edge of the pond and watch and wait as a feeling of peace and serenity gradually envelops me. It seems so far removed from the hurried rat race characteristic of the Washington D.C. area and has a restorative effect on my overall well-being.
The pond is frozen now, so I am able to sit on one of the logs that make up the beaver dam and extend my feet over the ice. I place a big plastic bag on the log and sit on a folded towel, so it’s pretty comfortable, even when the temperature is below freezing, as it was yesterday.
As I was looking toward a Great Blue Heron to my left, I detected some movement out of the corner of my right eye. I stopped breathing for a moment when I saw that a Red Fox (Vulpes vulpes) was standing on the ice. It looked like the fox had been planning to cross the pond and stopped when it spotted me.
Our eyes met for a moment as I took a few shots. Then the unthinkable happened. I pressed my shutter button and the shutter did not engage. Glancing down at my camera, I saw that the battery had died—several hours of freezing temperatures had temporarily drained the battery. This had happened before, although never at a critical moment, so I had another battery in my pocket.
I tried to change the battery as quickly as possible, but the additional movement spooked the fox a little and and it turned around and made its way back to the far bank of the pond. I managed to get a final shot of the fox after the battery change. The fox’s face is not visible, but at least you can see its bushy tail.
Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.