The first two weeks of spring were spent in Tuscany for a family holiday. We had a wonderful time in a beautiful, albeit fully manmade, landscape. From the cottage, we had great views over the rolling Tuscan hills. Swallows and martins picked up drowned refugees from the swimming pool during the day, being replaced by bats for the night shift. A Little Owl screamed from the olive orchard next door, every now and then put to silence by the eerie calls of a Tawny Owl. Lizards rustled through piles of bone-dry  leaves in every corner of the garden, looking for insect prey.  Orchids were all over the place and a snake made it alive to the other side of the road by aiming exactly between our wheels.

Because our holiday coincided with the (usually) best weeks for fox photography, I never bothered searching for inhabited dens this year. But when a friend called he had found a den with active pups, I could not resist and joined him the day after our return home. Over the next week, I spent many, many hours waiting for the pups to appear on stage. Which they obligingly did every now and then. One morning, I was sat for only five minutes when mom appeared with a loaf of bread (!). Within a split second, five (count the tails) little rascals propelled out of the den and attacked her and the bread with their juvenile fury. Of course, mom had noticed my hide in no time and disappeared quickly from the scene, but the youngsters kept me entertained for 90 minutes on end, playing, fighting, resting, eating, scratching and what not. Needless to say, I was thrilled, especially since it was the first time in 7 years I was able to photograph adult and pups together!

Fox Family; Canon 5D Mark III w. 500/4L IS and 1.4x.