Two Foxes & A Snowy Owl


The title sounds like the beginning of one of Aesop’s Fables but what I’m blogging about is a day trip to Island Beach State Park, New Jersey. A friend and I had a fun day photographing the foxes and searching for the elusive snowy owls who winter on this natural, barrier island. I am really not much of a wildlife photographer and my full-frame camera and 400mm lens are often not enough in terms of magnification … but I do have fun trying and watching animal behavior. I will admit, photographing the foxes was like taking candy from a baby! They stood out in the road greeting us while begging for food … an unnatural behavior brought on by those who don’t know they shouldn’t feed wild animals. We hiked the beach relentlessly, getting in quite a bit of exercise while searching for a snowy, without success. Then, just when we were about to give up we got word that two had been seen 30 minutes before, just down the beach. We hurried to the spot and there they were, on either side of our trail! They were quite far away but their bright white color made them stand out against the cloudy sky. Slowly and quietly we approached a small group already photographing the closest owl and began clicking our shutters. When some people scared it away we followed it to the next parking area. This time my friend and I were able to get closer and each time the owl turned its head I inched nearer. Unfortunately this owl must have been very tired as it didn’t open it’s eyes once, even though it appeared to be keeping a watch on us and the area. It really was a thrill being able to see them in the wild, even if I didn’t get the capture I would have liked.

'Who Are You?'  © Denise Bush

‘Who Are You?’ © Denise Bush

'Got Any Food?'  © Denise Bush

‘Got Any Food?’ © Denise Bush

'Dozing Off'  © Denise Bush

‘Dozing Off’ © Denise Bush

'Defending Territory'  © Denise Bush

‘Defending Territory’ © Denise Bush

'Snowy On A Dune'  © Denise Bush

‘Snowy On A Dune’ © Denise Bush

'Sleepy Snowy'  © Denise Bush

‘Sleepy Snowy’ © Denise Bush

'Still Sleeping'  © Denise Bush

‘Still Sleeping’ © Denise Bush


55 Responses to “Two Foxes & A Snowy Owl”

  1. He’s beautiful even with his eyes closed. I’m an owl lover, and snowy owls are pretty much my faves. H

  2. Great captures, congrats!

  3. 5

    Awesome images Denise!!

    • Thank you Kathleen. I thought about you, remembering your fox captures. This is more your kind of subject matter! Hope you are well and warm!

  4. Gorgeous shots… The dune vegetation is a perfect backdrop, just begging for an owl to complete the scene!

  5. These are great! I’d love to do more wildlife photography but opportunities are rare in the city I live in. I love the anticipation and waiting for the right moment 🙂

    • Thank you Helen. I used to do more bird photography but to really do it right I would need a 600mm lens … not in my budget until I win the lottery! 🙂

  6. 11 Deb

    Wonderful job Denise! What a great day!

    • Thank you Deb. Yes, it was a wonderful day and a big part of that was being able to share it with you. It’s a day I will remember forever! 🙂

  7. Fantastic! I have never seen one in the wild. What a privilege to see one and photograph it like this!

  8. I am so envious! Feeding foxes is bad but plenty of people bait birds too. Maybe I am a purist but I’d rather stalk with a 400mm than walk up with a 70-200 and have no sense of achievement. Well done.

  9. These are stunning! The third fox photo looks like he is cheesing for the camera! And that last shot of the owl with the sunset in the background was just perfect!! Brava!

  10. 19 lensaddiction

    Foxes and Owls!! OMG if you knew how jealous I am of these lovely shots (I adore that first owl one with the great sky behind him BTW)

    We have a tiny native owl here thats impossible to see in our native bush and no foxes in NZ so I watch with envy when I see people having opportunities like this, not even realising how damn lucky they are to get that close:)

    Lovely shots!

    • ‘OMG’ is right Stacey! That’s what I kept mouthing to my friend when we were able to get so close. I do realize how lucky I was. Thanks for taking the time to come look and leave a comment!

      • 21 lensaddiction

        Well I hope you get some great shots this winter, look forward to them 😀

  11. Very nice – I don’t have the kind of patience required for nature photography – you did good!

  12. Love “Dozing Off” and “Still Sleeping.” Wonder if that says anything about me?

    Anyway, nice captures. Getting an owl in any image is an accomplishment. I went twice last winter and captured zero. Thought Yeager was photoshopping them in.

    Going to try again this winter, hopefully after some snow.

  13. 26 pamela larue

    Incredible photos! I love foxes and owls and to capture them in photos is a feat you should be proud of!

  14. Denise, I don’t think you can say you’re not a wildlife photographer anymore! These are wonderful!

  15. Denise, you are soooo fortunate to have actually gotten pix of a snowy. Actually I rather like the shots with their eyes shut. That owl had let down its guard. When I went, I saw one owl, but no shots. The foxes are wonderfully fun to photograph. Great shots.

  16. Perfect photos! The fox in the third photo looks like he’s smiling.

    • I think so too but it was actually resting. We weren’t giving it food and he/she was getting bored! Thanks for the visit and comment.

  17. Those are some beautiful images!

  18. 36 Cathie

    Beautiful…I love the “Still Sleeping.”

  19. Seriously beautiful work!

  20. There are two takeaways from this post besides the great photography. One is how much personality these foxes show. Although you claim not to be a wildlife photographer, you have shown what makes great wildlife photography great by not just sticking a big lens in front of an animal but by clicking the shutter when the animals are truly being themselves. Your snowy owl may not have cooperated much for you but you turned the photographs into wonderful still life studies in color and contrast. By the way, the title of this post sounds like a fairy tale. Maybe when you put your camera down you might want to write that one.

  21. The “smiling fox” is really cute!

  22. What a delightful post, both images and text! It takes me back a few decades to when I used to stalk these beautiful creatures (not with a camera but with a pen for little nature articles for my school.) These images show great patience and creativity on your part.

  23. Awesome shots, Denise – wow!

  24. Fabulous. The owl photographs are unbelievably charming!

  25. Wow… that last ‘Owl’ pic brings this group all together!!!!

    • I kept inching closer whenever it turned its head and ended up at a higher angle, climbing a dune. I wish I was better at estimating how close in feet I was. They should have metadata for that.

  26. Absolutely stunning! Love, love, love, love all of these images.

  27. He looks so cute in ‘Dosing Off’ and very fierce in ‘Defending Territory’. Very exciting encounters.

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