I have some fox lore to share with you. After speaking with a local about recent history of the foxes on San Juan Island, I became even more fascinated by these creatures. I did some research. I learned about the bunnies, the extremely rare butterfly, the mustard plants, and of course, the foxes. They are all interconnected and I'll tell you how. Rabbits are not native to San Juan Island. They were brought in by a couple of enterprising young men, who started a rabbit breeding farm on Cady Mountain. When their venture failed in the 1930's, they released about 3,000 rabbits. The rabbits did what they're known to do… in addition to that, they destroyed crops for many of the farmers on the 55sq mile island. The rabbit population estimate reached as high as 1 million, which sounds ridiculous, but there are reports of fields being so thick with rabbits that it appeared as though the entire field was moving. Hunting helped a little, as did pumping poisonous gas into bunny burrows. Foxes were also introduced to the island. By the late 1970's the rabbit population was much more manageable, although they were still rather plentiful. In 1998, an Island Marble Butterfly, long thought to be extinct, was spotted on San Juan Island. Mustard plants are required for their survival, and they grow in American Camp, a National Historical Park which is overseen by the National Park Service. Rabbits also enjoy feeding off the mustard plants and were providing too much competition for the extremely rare butterfly. The National Park Service proposed a rabbit eradication program in 2012. Most of the rabbits were removed from the area. This, of course adversely affected the foxes. The foxes, with their main food source removed, began to starve and traveled into town, foraging for food. Many residents were concerned for the foxes' welfare. Others regarded them as nuisances. Either way, it was agreed upon that the rabbits should return. Once the rabbit population rebounded, the fox population did too. The park service is doing what they can to protect the mustard plants from the bunnies so the rare butterflies can also thrive. And there you have it. 🐰🦊🦋🌾
Owls are captivating creatures, appearing wise one moment and cuddly the next. Then you take a look at those razor sharp talons and remember they are fierce predators as well. I can't stop watching them...from a safe distance. Isn't this guy cute?
I waded into a muddy bay, aimed my camera at this guy, perched on a tree in the haze of wildfire smoke that drifted south. I adjusted my settings to account for the haze, lowering the shutter speed so I could drop the ISO. I had it juuuuust right and then he took off, so my shutter speed was off. Eagles can be so uncooperative. 🙄😄🦅