Mid-Winter Wildlife at Duck

It's mid-winter on the Outer Banks. The holidays are gone, almost no one's renting houses, and most businesses are shuttered until late March. Very few occupied houses and no street lights mean dark nights. All of that adds up to the sort of quiet that makes the wildlife bolder. In December and January, the deer have returned and we had a visitor -- a gray fox. All of the information that I could find says that gray foxes on the beach are rare... but we had one nestled in the dune for a few days.

I kept hoping it'd get up and walk around so I'd get a nice shot or two, but apparently THIS fox only prowls at night!
Finally, as the sun was going down and things were going gray, he got moving.  Here you get a chance to see how long the tail is.
But there was this faint clicking noise (me two stories up, shooting down).
It's not THAT way...
Or THAT way...
Aha!  so that's where that noise is coming from.  He sat there for a bit and then wandered under the house near the carport.  The sun set then, and I thought I'd seen the last of him.
... but nearly thirty minutes later, Rhonda arrived with groceries.  I went downstairs to help bring in groceries, and faintly saw a figure on the dune behind the house.  (It's DARK here in the winter, as no one's here to leave house lights on.)   I ran to get the camera, cranked it to ISO 3200, and took a reading... 1/15 of a second.  I leaned the camera against a piling and took a few shots, knowing that hand-holding a shot that slow would be silly... so I was quite pleasantly surprised.  The scene was actually all grays and indistinct, but the ISO 3200 pulled out the colors that were still there but that my eyes couldn't see, and while it's a noisy picture, it's still an interesting shot of a (small) predator, silently watching me, thinking to himself, "hey, yeah, maybe I could take HIM... and eat for the whole winter!"
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