Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Hares Boxing in Winter

The heavy snows have made life difficult for everybody up and down the country.But for a wildlife enthusiast such as myself it has provided one of the most exciting photographic opportunities ever. For the first time in my life I've seen up to 50 hares together at one time. I've had to brave temperatures of -14C and blizzards that have lasted for hours wearing a customised snow suit made from ton dumpy bags and a DIY spraysuit to see them!
Hares don't just breed in March. They are solitary animals and if you see more than one at a time it means they could be courting. In this photograph I captured 27 hares at once.
But the conditions were extreme. The hares would hunker down, with their backs to the wind during blizzards which could last for hours. I used these times to creep closer to them.

After a blizzard they would recover.Stretch.
And then resume courting. Here the one of the males dared to test the female's scent. But here a female rebuffed the male's amorous advance with a swift box that sent him springing.
After several days of snow storms, I was glad of some good light on a crisp sunny day and although it was -14C when I set out the bright light and heat haze coming off the snow played havoc with my auto-focussing.
The sunlight also put paid to my disguise since the hares could also hear my every footstep
crunching through the snow.

Click here to read more about my experiences in this month's Yorkshire Post.

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