Monday, 10 March 2008

Anything for the weekend Sir, Mad March Hares please!

Over the last two of days I have seen two species of Hare not too far from my home.
Firstly whilst looking for the Green winged Teal at Eyebrook Reservoir (which I didn't see!) on the Saturday, I notice at least four Brown Hares sitting in fields opposite the feeding station.
There was no real action from the Hares but a couple did try to shadow box for a few minutes.

The other Hare on the agenda over the weekend, was that I finally saw a Mountain Hare.
Although I know that the Mountain Hares in Derbyshire/South Yorkshire were introduced into the area in the last century. I have always wanted to see a Snow White Mountain Hare in its natural habitat.
So I set off on Sunday morning to look for Mountain Hares around Ladybower and Derwent Reservoir in the Peak district with my friend Margaret.

After finding a spot in the crowded car park, we walked slowly passed the dam at the bottom of the valley. Birds in the surrounding area included good numbers of Siskins, the odd Brambling and the usual woodland species.

After walking along the reservoir track for a couple of miles passing Derwent and Howden Reservoirs, we decided to take the track up to Howden Moors and on to the surrounding Moorland. Walking up the steep track we stopped a couple of times to view the magnificent landscape and took a few photos.

Walking slowly over the moorland, we flushed a couple of Red Grouse from the surrounding heather,and then it started to snow in bright sunshine!
We decided that possible it was not a good idea being on an exposed moorland in the middle of snow storm, so we changed direction and walked down towards Howden Clough, which was not too far away.
At this point we suddenly flushed a snow white Mountain Hare almost below our feet, and then watched it sprint off to right of us. I punch the air and shouted "Yes", as I had seen the target of the day.
After that sighting we decided it was good time to return to the car park.
Walking slowly back to the car park via the Reservoir forest track, I picked up the distinctive calls of Crossbill in the nearby conifer plantations. Listening to the birds I concluded that there must have been a small group of five or so birds in the surrounding trees.
After a quick cup of coffee and pasty at the visitor centre, we made our way home, for hopefully an Indian meal back in Leicester to celebrate the sighting of the Mountain Hare!
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