Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Brown Hares are thriving - but not everywhere.

Hares enjoying the warmth of the early morning sun

I stood on the Cornish Devon border a few years ago with a group of 17 farmers (what do you call a group of farmers? Your thoughts please!) and I asked them if they had seen any Brown Hares on their farms lately. Only one chap put his hand up to say that he had seen one about a year ago.

In parts of the western side of the country, the Hare is not doing that well, probably due to farms becoming less “mixed” (arable and grass) and generally more dominated by grass, in particular silage grass rather than hay, which is not ideal for leverets. These all grass farms tend to be difficult for those lucky leverets that survive the silage operations to hide away, as the grass is so short and that makes them incredibly vulnerable to Fox and Buzzard predation. Leaving areas of uncut rough grass dotted around the farm can certainly help. 

Across much of the rest of the country though, Hares are thriving and seem to be doing particularly well this year. Early morning is a great time to see Hares and the photo that I have just taken shows eleven individuals enjoying the warmth of the early morning sun! There were actually 15 present – but I did not have a wide angled lens with me to get them all in!

Leverets can be wonderfully naive, as this little one demonstrated by ambling along and stopping just a couple of metres or so away, taking its time to check me out, before continuing on its way. Good job I wasn't a fox disguised as a grey haired old man!! 

A Leveret checking me out!


  1. Hi Peter, very interesting. What area of the country was the photo taken where you saw 15? Regards, Chris

    1. I have seen many hares whilst walking my dog in Whitchurch, Hampshire on nearby farmland

    2. I took the photo in Hampshire Chris.