It was another evening of great birding. I was returning after watching the waders on the shores of the Baltic in the South of Sweden. Migrants like the pied avocets and ringed plovers were showing nicely today as they foraged and courted before their nesting period. Waders are truly a delight to watch and Äspet is my favourite spot in eastern Skåne to see them. And now on my way home to Lund, it has become habitual lately to stop near the beautiful forests of Yngsjö which are about ten kilometers south of Äspet. I would pull over to the roadside and scout the edges of the forest looking for a moose family I met in November last year and whom I have never seen since. But all was quiet again this evening as I scanned the fields with no sign of the moose and the sun was beginning to set. It was after eight. The days do get longer in May over here, near the Northern circle. But the light was beginning to fail as darkness slowly descended.

 A marsh harrier hovering low over the fields on its evening hunt caught my eye. These are truly graceful raptors with a lazy effortless wing flap meandering across the late evening sky. The light was getting low for me to capture any usable images of the marsh harrier. And soon it was getting close to nine, the sun had set and it was twilight as I turned into a narrow road that runs through the forest on my way home.  It was then that I saw the silhouette of what looked like two small animals on the edge of the road. My first thought was cats or lynx, but cats cannot appear in a forest and there are no lynx here in the south. A little closer and it was a fox family! A mother and her cub. My heart raced and I could feel the rush of adrenalin! Will I be able to get a picture of the fox cub? A worthy prize for any aspiring nature photographer. 

I am yet to commit the cardinal sin of packing my photo gear at the end of the day. My camera was ready for action on the passenger seat though there was hardly any light left outside. And there caught in the headlights of my car the mother and cub stood frozen – confused and surprised as I was.  The next couple of minutes flash by and in the ensuing moments the mother and cub get separated on either side of the narrow forest road with my car now between them. I stop the car in the middle of the road and look through the bushes, certain I was being watched. And sure enough, peering at me and hidden in the bushes was the cutest creature I have ever seen. The image of those beautiful button-like eyes so filled with curiosity mixed with fear as they gazed at me will forever stay in my heart. I reach for my camera to catch the moment and fire off a few shots. It was an awkward and dangerous place to be parked in the middle of a forest road with a fleeting animal you are trying to photograph, and with near to zero visibility darkness outside. In a few moments the cub picked up enough courage to speed through the bushes to pass ahead of my car, then crossed the road to the safety of the waiting mother on the other side. The two of them were quick to disappear into the darkness. 

They say there are some moments in life that come perhaps once. And as I drive home I think to myself: aren’t these the moments which make this life worth living? Two creatures thrown into this planet in the constraints of time and space, for the briefest second lock eyes in a moment of intense communication. If there ever was a picture that I have taken that melts my heart. this had to be it ️.


Share This Post