Monday, March 10, 2008

Spring Hares

I have been spending some time with the local brown hares recently, mainly to try and get some 'boxing shots'. I came close the other day but still not quite there. The recent cold snap of weather has not helped my quest as it has reduced their activity. While waiting I have been taking a few photos of them going about their daily business.
Ready for lift-off
and to finish off the post the closest I have come to some boxing action. The hare in the foreground was just not interested by the bouncing around and taunting to box of the other hare behind.


Jane said...

Rich. Your recent post inspired me to go looking for hares to video. What problems I've had! So far I've been to three different sites (where they are supposed to be) and have only seen one (very distant, sitting perfectly still!). What time of the day do you watch them? and do you have any tips for a "hare watching" virgin?

scotfot said...

This is a great series of images of hares, excellent!!

Rodney said...

Indeed a brilliant set of images - some of the best I've seen.

Re. Jane's enquiry - hares are most active at dawn and dusk, although I once saw seven together on a sunny afternoon. Groups are usually easier than solitary hares since they are too bound up with each other to notice a human presence. Crop tramlines are good places and hares come trundling up to meet you. Although having 360 vision it's poor straight ahead and they don't realise you're there.
Good luck,
Rodney Hale
Chairman - Hare Preservation Trust

Pixel-Pixie said...

Great images even if they weren't boxing on the day! The look in the eye of the hare in your final photo really says it all - so expressive! You can almost see him, saying "Come on, come box with me!" - the frustration is I said, really great images...

I have a blog which documents the wildlife action going on around my home and office in Kenya, which I call my Wilderness Diary. Unfortunately, at the moment I am using a camera which has a slight delay between pressing the trigger and taking the picture, which means I have to predict the action and click a second beforehand - a lot of times, I've been very lucky and caught the action, but at other times it has been extremely frustrating. Having said that, with its Leica lens it's fabulous for plants and stationery subjects. I'm hoping to get a DSLR next month, which should improve things on the action front.

Take care,
Tanya (in Kenya)

Rich Steel said...

Jane, Scotfot, Rodney and Tanya, many thanks for your comments and I'm glad you enjoyed the hare shots. Rodney has given you some excellent advice Jane to which I will add my observations, having spent a long time with the hares.

Firstly you need to put in a lot of hours and effort and I will often try and spend an hour with them several times a week before heading to the office in the morning. The photos posted are only a small selection but represent many hours.

Secondly buy a good alarm clock as you are best to get into position by sunrise.

Thirdly try and find a site where you have a road alongside so you can use your car as a mobile hide.

My experience of their behaviour is that they can be quite unpredictable in terms of numbers showing each day and activity is definately reduced during cold spells, when I assume they conserve their energy to keep warm rather than chase each other around. They tend to be most active at the beginning and end of the day. The hares I photograph will usually spend the first 1 or 2of daylight feeding and the action and chasing tends to start up around 9 -10am and can be fairly short-lived. During the afternoon they will often be lying up somewhere flat to the ground and then undertake some more feeding late afternoon.

I had a very close encounter with one hare on a recent session as while crouched in some bushes for cover on the edge of a field ,one hare wandered over and started sniffing my boot, looked up at me and then causally wandered off!! Some of the amazing animal and bird encounters you have when photographing wildlife is part of what drags me from bed when the alarm is going off at some unearthly hour.

Tanya when you get a DSLR a whole new world will open up. Try and get a model with a high frame rate to help you catch the action. A hare at full speed is a panning challenge with the camera, I can't imagine what a cheetah would be like!!!!



Jane said...

Hi. Many thanks to Rodney and Rich for your advice. As soon as the weather gets a bit better I will go and try out some early morning watching. Great to see that Tanya has found her way here as well! Jane

Jane said...

Just thought I'd thank you and Rodney for your advice. I lapped it all up, and went in search of them at Kimmeridge in Dorset at 6am in the morning (after a tip-off). Managed to get my first video of them. 7 in total, great to watch. Going back tomorrow for another go! Jane


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