Thursday, February 26, 2009

In search of the Mad March Hare (Jodie Randall)


Brown hares are one of my favourite species to photograph. From late February to the end of March I repeatedly visit a location that supports a healthy population of these mystical animals.
Open grassland and arable farms are the hare's preferred habitat. This can cause difficulty when it comes to spotting them, as their caramel/brown fur is perfectly camouflaged with their surroundings.
At this time of year, before the grasses grow too high, the hare's presence can often be revealed as they chase each other across the open fields. I have only ever been lucky enough to witness hares 'boxing' once in a distant field. This behaviour is often thought to be rival male hares fighting over a female, but in fact it is actually the female hares fighting off males unwanted advances. Usually this behaviour is exhibited very early in the morning, or around dusk.
Over the next few weeks I am aiming to spend many early mornings and evenings sitting and waiting in the hope of photographing the Mad March Hare.
I will continue to post with my progress.

- Jodie

20 comments:

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Hi Jodie. Im a native of Scotland and we also have the magnificent hares. One of my favourite times of the year is early spring purely because of the "boxing". I thought i would be cheeky enough to suggest a few things to make your "hunt" more successful. First, if you know there are hares in the area you can encourage them closer to your lens by "squeaking" them in. This involves mimicking the cry of a leveret in distress and usually prompts the adults to investigate. Wet your lips, pucker them and then suck in air. If you do it right you will make a high pitched squeaking noise. You can achieve a louder effect by doing the same thing but against the palm of your hand. Try maybe a half dozen squeaks then leave it for 5 mins, then repeat. The idea is to let the hares hear you but not do it long enough for them to exactly pin point your position. All the usual wildlife photography rules also apply i.e. keep the wind in your face, never let your profile be hard against the horizon and - this is just a personal belief - keep a calm persona. I often find I have more success when im relaxed and "soft" although i couldnt tell you why! Oh and ps - hares love lettuce! Hope some of this helps and if you want to let me know how it went alexjenks@hotmail.co.uk Happy hunting!

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