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Les petits renards de Rodemack

As we sat the chill of a Spring evening crept over us. Coinciding with the setting sun the bird song notched up in volume and variety, surrounding us with an orchestra. A woodpecker hammered away close by, Julie got a glimpse but I didn't; the small bird was well hidden amongst the foliage of newly green trees. An owl hooted far off, distinct and precise amongst the background of song. We waited, yet the fox puppies did not emerge from their den. 'It's too late' Julie whispered. 'The best time is mid-afternoon'. I had a little more faith and preferred waiting - not least because I had made an hour detour through traffic stricken Metz to fetch my camera.

Then, after twenty minutes, a small movement by the den hole that we had so adamantly been watching. It was a small brown head that popped out of the den hole, a tiny fur ball perfectly camouflaged against the dirt walls. Not long afterwards another head came out from the blackness and another and soon enough a litter of five puppies were out trying to see and smell us with their underdeveloped senses. The smallest found a small leaf to play with but never strayed more than a metre from the den hole, the others stayed in the entrance trying to work out what all the fuss was about. The snapping of my camera shutter was an alien sound to them which kept them curious for about five minutes before finally they retreated back into the warmth and safety of their den.

A magical encounter!

Rodemack, Lorraine, North Eastern France.

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