Monday, June 14, 2010

More seal photos and promising fox activity

The other day I went out with the shooting sledge here at Zackenberg on the frozen Young Sund. I was to check some fox dens for occupancy and possible breeding activity and for our farthest den the easiest and most direct route is actually over the sea ice. The snow conditions on land is basically miserable this time of year with big wet and soft drifts and parts with pure knee high ice water. On the sea on the other hand there is only a few cms of snow. The weather was not looking too good with overcast and foggy conditions but I decided to bring the seal kit (sledge and snow camo) along with the camera and long lens. As I came out on the ice, I saw several seals and a few of them was actually en route and in good wind and light, should the sun come out. As I got closer, I realised there were actually three seals lying together. It is normally harder to approach a group as it is less predictable when they will look up but one was facing away from me and was slightly shading for another one so I went for it. I took many photos as I slowly moved in on them, freezing everytime the seals looked up and managed to get a format filling composition with the three seals together and my 400mm on a full frame camera at about 65 m before they got suspecious and slipped into their hole in the ice.
At the fox den, I was delighted to see an adult fox sleeping outside in what was starting to look like fine snow - a good indication that there is young in the den. I did not check for the usual close range signs of activity like shed winter hair, tracks, diggings and smell as to not disturb the fox - and there was no need really. At another den close by the research station, I heard muffled barks from several indivials in the burrows. It will be interesting to follow up on these during the season.