The encounter makes stories. My encounter with the fox brought a journey of wildlife seeking into being. It was a glimpse at the beginning, then it urged me on the way of tracking. Not only tracing those untamed creatures but also knowing myself in its tracks.
We were heading to Maastricht in an early morning in the third day of my first visit to Holland. Liang Yu was driving, and my dozy eyes blurred most of the scenes passing by our car until something sobered me up.
I believe that was a red fox, a mysterious creature belongs to the myth in Asia but spreads wide and common in Europe and North America. I googled the information of fox in the Netherlands and thereby connecting with a different view through RoeselienRaimond.
Hornstrandir Nature Reserve
The fox becomes a reason to revisit the Netherlands and it even wider my travel map further than I planned before.
Due to my poor budget and limited permitted annual leaves, Amsterdamse Waterleidingduinen in the Netherlands should be my priority but the arctic fox in Hornstair lured me to book flight tickets and fox watching local tour in Iceland.
Forty minutes from Ísafjörður to Kvíar by boat, the thrill of exploration fluctuated between gusts and billows.
Summer is the open season to Hornstair for tourists, winter storm almost block the whole west fjord, and any access to that abandoned peninsula may conjure sirens' approach.
Hornstrandir Nature Reserve, the most silent place I have ever been in my life, full of the whisper from nature.
All residents moved out since the 1940s, left the farmhouse and a paradise for arctic fox only.
Cunning, flirtatious and roguish. Personality in folks or misunderstanding from knowing less character those stereotypes of the fox we still believe today.
RoeselienRaimond breaks the frame of bias by documenting the red fox photography and the story. What she documents are not just the gallery of professionals, but the way of staring, the way we choose to step into the wild.
We did some research about wild birds before. However, nothing about wild mammals was in our expectation. However, that glimpse was revelatory enough to seed the eagerness of wild seeking. We rechecked the birding website, remarking some locations that people note for vulpes spotting.
We made those popular locations into a draft of fox spotting, drove from parks to parks, walked gingerly in the copse or those religions nearby the farmland, waiting patiently till the rain almost permeated camera bag. We met a roe deer, a road-killed hedgehog, but fox never showed up.
We left the Netherlands with a little bit regret of its absence, being provoked by this unsuccessful fox seeking experience utterly.
I began to review all the data about fox as I could. More locations and inhabitants, biological reviews and researches are also helped to build my foxy world.
The most critical reason prompts into this endless discovery is not about a lack of fox photo. It's about what I discover while spending so much time on tracing them.
Catching a perfect picture is one of the results of this journey, but, understanding the fox, soaking myself into the eyes of wild has composed scenarios in the chapters of my life.
We arrived at 10:00 AM and realized how we underestimated the summer here in Iceland. Freezing zero and flimsy clothes chilled my bones. Snow capped the tundra behind the lodge, misty with white, conveying Yukionna’s croon faraway from nowhere. We hiked and plodded along the hill for almost 2 hours till noon and no arctic fox showed up.
The local tour guide said that there are thousands of arctic foxes in Hornstrandir, but only a couple recorded in this area due to their territoriality. However, they haven't found the pups yet.
We restarted after lunch, heading to the slope buried with foxes' droppings. Redwings called, golden plover being alert, waves glisten in the sun lapping against kayaks and eiders quacking at the coastline. The barking, gushed over this peaceful land abruptly, like an announcement of a campaign.
Both of them showed up finally. We met their eyes with thrill and fulfillment.
The Arctic fox is about the size of my own cat; the male is often larger than the female one. Not all of them change their coat to white in the winter but this couple apparently did.
They had not molted to brown entirely in June, and those white fur spotted like the pocket or a duster on their bodies.
They trumpeted, staring at us, evaluating their next step, separating to opposite direction for hunting. The male went to the west coastline a little bit far from the lodge and the female hanging around hillside nearby us.
Without fear of being haunted, they are friendly to human. We kept a distance to watch how they behaved and taking some good photos.
They were busy to hunt, even stole a fish from what seabirds had just caught. As the original mammal who has to survive in hardest winter in Iceland, they eat worms, berries, birds, flesh on skeleton…they eat everything. Moreover, sometimes, they know where can have a feast.
“They are smart and greedy. They know when we cook and even asking for food by scratching the window. If they were not satisfied, they would try to get in the farmhouse.”
This couple smelt our Icelandic dinner that night, too. They stopped and sniffed in the front door, let us had a chance to take photos in a close distance by mobile.
They left one after the other, toward the way came and trumpeted early before. We didn't find the pups still, maybe they didn't have one or they hide them in a safe dense.
Winds got colder at night. We left this abandoned land with a desire for exploring further. The boat rode on waves with a noisy engine.
Swang up and down and 6kg weight photography equipment wearing all day long made me lackadaisical. Suddenly, the engine stopped. All tourists on the boat hold their breath for something opaque.
A whale passed by in front of our boat, the sound of its' turn burst into praise in the cabin, this magic encounter was not on the itinerary.
Puffins on the sea flew away, and we were more buoyant than before. A script of Jurassic Park came into my mind:
"They don't need our protection. They need our absence."