These creatures are normally nocturnal (or at least, crepuscular), so to see one foraging in mid-morning is very rare.
It was in the right place, however, as there is a wide range of potential prey at Oe in winter, and no doubt this raccoon dog was hunting birds such as bunting, moorhen, coot, crake, rail, duck and possibly even pheasant.
It seems to be in excellent health and will no doubt be spending plenty of time in the reeds around Oe along with checking out garbage left outside homes and restaurants in the area.
I was doubly lucky in that this raccoon dog was suspicious about my vehicle – as it emerged from the reeds just several meters in front of me, it was facing toward the Delica and oblivious to my stationary presence.
I felt for sure that it would hear me as I moved slightly to bring the camera up for some photos, but I was able to start focusing without it realising I was just behind it. It did hear the AF, however, and turned toward me but didn’t panic. It just froze and stared at me and didn’t really do anything much except turn its head back and forth slowly as if trying to work out exactly where the low sound was coming from.
But when I moved slightly again, it quickly turned and hurried back into the reeds and disappeared so I wonder if it even knew a person was there up until that point. One thing I need to keep in mind about using the 1D X instead of the 7D – the DOF is much thinner!
This shot with the 300/2.8 and 2x TC was at f/5.6 (ISO 6400, 1/1600 sec – I was set up for photographing birds in flight!) and basically just the eyes and bridge of the nose are in sharp focus.