The Boys are Back in Town
The hares are becoming more visible in the Epping Forest Buffer Lands, giving some good opportunities for photos
So it's Sunday April 10th 2016 and it has the makings of a decent day. I know that because it's my birthday and I have been given special dispensation to rise at an unearthly hour to go and lie down on the ground in a field. Yes, I know, what a treat! no seriously, it is! And what's more, I have checked the BBC weather app and it shows sun symbols so you know what that means ('rain' I hear you all cry) - no, great light for a few hours with the hares, and a chance to redeem myself from a previous debacle a week earlier when I saw precisely nothing.
It is a cold morning and there is a heavy frost in the valley at the hare field, but up on the track is a place which catches the suns first rays, and I have a feeling that I will see something here. I round the bend cautiously and then hit the deck - there is a beautifully posed hare soaking up the warmth of the morning sun. I fire off a few shots. This will be the opportunity to get some lovely warmly coloured photos, later on I will be mainly down in the frosty valley and everything will have a cooler look.
Descending into the valley, I head for a field of stubble which might give good sightings. I need to keep below the horizon if possible so I keep low. There is a small brook I have to cross, and there is a sheet metal bridge over it which I crawl across on hands and knees. Now I have a bit of a problem because the metal is below freezing and I now find I am not only stuck on the bridge but my hands are stuck to the bridge. Awkward, but it could be worse - at least it's not my tongue.
Having eventually released myself from the bridge, I get in position on the edge of the field and get some shots of this chap lolloping along the edge in the frosty grass.
This one has a split ear - he must have been in a few battles. He posed beautifully and I loved the look of the frosty stubble in the field.
On the way back I rounded a bend in the track and came face to face with this guy. I really don't know who was surprised the most!
So my hare project is taking shape with better sightings. I' need to get closer too them for clearer shots which is damned difficult as they have a keen sense of smell and those ears can hear you coming from the moment you close your front door.
We will see!