Mountain Hare in the Rocks

The mountain hare (Lepus timidus) changes colour for the winter, designed to blend into its Arctic surroundings. In previous years the snow has been absent and encounters have been easier. The hares sitting white against the golden background of the dying heather made them obvious even to my untrained eye.

This time it was different. The winter snow was lying thick, knee deep in places. Storm Erik was battling even the hardiest of photographers. The hares had found gullies and rocks to shelter within making it impossible to find them with ease. Standing upright was difficult and the driving sleet in 60mph winds eventually beat us into submission and off the mountain.

Determined to find hares we drove along the quiet mountain road, constantly scanning until we started to see small figures. Tucked into the rocks on the roadside, damp but sheltered, these small beings were surviving in the wild weather.

Usually white until early March the mild winter was starting to show. Their heads were turning a beautiful russet brown, the end of the winter and the start of spring emerging hair by hair. In a natural game of “Where’s Wally” we spent an afternoon playing “Where’s the Hare”….