With deadlines conveniently juggled we managed to contrive some time to be out and about this week - destination harebears. Arriving earlier than normal at their field our first task was to pour ourselves a mug of medicinal coffee. At first it all appeared very peaceful, the hares relaxing in their usual locations, but within a whisker's twitch all things can change and a calm scene can quickly transform to 'carnalage'! I'm not sure what the hare equivalent is of 'come on over big boy', but first one doe gave it to her beau, followed swiftly by another doe to hers and after a few rounds of boxing, the towel was well and truely thrown in. For a while the scene was similar to that of recent activities in our pond, but not so wet. Pleasantries were short in duration but frequent. Once unnecessariness' were complete peace broke out in the form of some indifferent grazing interspersed with periods of grooming, which continued until the next twinkle shone in her eye! This cycle of events continued throughout our time with them. We were both able to make useful sketches, but only between the moments when our eyes were not blushfully adverted. Exhausting stuff and we were only watching (is there such a thing as 'hare dogging'?)!!
To recover we popped over to a nearby wood, only to discover that there were Wildlife Trust volunteers tidying it up. So much for it being quieter during the week. Onto woods number two then, all was quiet here and a very pleasant couple of hours were passed looking for signs of spring. Rosie painted sweet violets, accompanied by a bee-fly. I mooched around watching a chiffchaff, a lot of brimstones, commas, peacock, red admiral and queen bumble bees.
And onto Beacon Hill. Here mooching activities were resumed. Nuthatches greeted us with a fanfare of calls, a red kite drifted over at treetop height and a pair of bullfinches slipped silently through the hazel coppice. Brimstone butterflies were in abundance, with males patrolling manically along the pathways and females basking in the glorious sunshine. Making our way back to the carpark I caught up with a couple of bee-flies, sporting their fine long noses. All signs that spring is starting to sprung with force.
Finally as we pulled into our close I noticed a deal of gull activity just over the houses, looking closer we picked out a red kite flying among their ranks being comprehensively escorted out of the area.
If you're expecting words of wisdom from Dan and Rosemary you may be sadly disappointed. However, if you want to keep up to date with our current projects then pick up the feed at the top of this column.