Saturday, April 07, 2012

Easter 'Bunny'

To put the record straight, the original Easter Bunny was not supposed to be a rabbit but a hare. Hares are mostly commonly seen in the spring as the males energetically pursue the females. Their hormone driven pursuits have given rise to the phrase 'Mad as a March Hare'. If you have ever watched a male hare catch the scent of a female you will see how they become possessed and it is a common sight watching them sniff along the ground in pursuit during the Spring.
Hares were believed to lay eggs, which was probably a case of mistaken identity with Lapwing nests which share the same open field habitat. However, I suspect the giving of eggs at Easter has more to do with a symbol of fertility and renewal.

At this time of year hares will often sit up, as shown in the following photograph, presumably to give them a better view as the look out for females.
I love to photograph hares throughout the year. In fact my preference is actually to photograph them in late summer when the bird photography is poor and hares much more relaxed.  The only relaxed hare in the Spring is one that is taking the time to groom its fur. The one below was having a quiet moment.
Once the scent of a female is picked up a hare will follow it anywhere including across roads. Fortunately at the site where I photograph them traffic is virtually non-existent which is just as well as they will often pause mid-way across to try and get a better bearing on the direction of the scent trail. Obviously if there was traffic the consequences of this behaviour could be deadly.
Whatever they are doing they are wonderfully enigmatic animals and its worth taking some time to go out and look for them in the Spring which offers your best chance of seeing them. Unfortunately they are also a species which is under a great deal of pressure in the UK and one that is sadly in decline. However, on there side are a number of organisations such as the Hare Preservation Trust. Our countryside would be a much poorer place without them.
So I will finish this post with an image of Spring as a hare runs past a patch of daffodils and wish you all a happy and peaceful Easter break.


Sally H said...

Wonderful photos. Thanks for sharing. Happy Easter to you and yours

Joe said...

Incredible images as always. Also, had no idea about the story of the easter bunny actually being a hare, so thanks for enlightening me!

Have a great Easter :D

grammie g said...

HI Rich...I love your Hare shots..especially the quiet moment sure he wasn't praying for his safety as he the crosses the road.. : }}
Fabulous photo' always do such a great job!!
We have so many Coyotes in my area that the Hares are all but gone!! : {
Happy Easter

Tina Dial said...

Lovely images Rich, and interesting commentary.

Neil said...

Great photos!

Noushka said...

Great captures!
A hare is not a common sight in blogs!
I still have to come up with decent pictures! LOL!
Truly well done!

salma said...

so beautiful! Happy St. Easter!

salma said...

so beautiful! Happy St. Easter!

kirstallcreatures said...

Wonderful photos of the hare, the light is beautiful, Linda

Matt Latham said...

Your hare shots are always top class Richard


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