Green shoots and Brown Hares

I always look forward to the arrival of spring as winter loosens its grip and the land awakens. My thoughts turn to arable fields and March madness; lying amongst the green shoots of winter wheat as the lark sings overhead and brown hares begin their courtship. Even well into March there can be more than just a touch of frost. Here a lone hare is highlighted by the rising sun on a crisp spring morning; the poor thing even has frosty whiskers!

I’m fortunate in that I have access to several local farms with healthy hare populations. By visiting regularly, with and without the camera, I can develop an understanding of where the animals rest and the corridors they use between resting places. The shot below was captured at very close range as this handsome hare bathed in the light from the setting sun. I had observed a group of hares gathering in this area over several evenings and this knowledge allowed me to be in position, under camouflage, before they arrived.

These characterful creatures really do behave a bit bonkers at this time of year, but that doesn’t necessarily make them less cautious or easy to photograph. They will lie for hours in shallow depressions called forms, and are barely noticeable even in spring when the crop is low. Any approach, besides crawling, will result in the hare making a speedy retreat; along with any others lying nearby!

 

A typical view of a ‘Mad March Hare’ as it races across wet farmland.