Finally, increased penalties for hare coursers

Brown hare

Regular readers will know that I love hares. A lot of people do. They have a long, often mystical, association with our countryside, being said to conjure spirits, turn into witches, and dance at the moon. The UK has three species – the brown hare, the mountain hare, and in Northern Ireland, (and one tiny part of Scotland) the Irish hare. I’ll be writing about Britain’s hare species in a future blog. To me, hares are the archetypal wild animals,

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The case of the twitching leaf

fox cub

The leaf twitches. There are plenty of moving leaves in this thicket just a few yards from my home. A dense jungle of ivy and bramble, cow parsley, willowherb and fallen branches that adorns the bases of some tall ash trees, it’s alive with movement from a gusting breeze that is moving occasional teased-out-cotton clouds above me and bringing the temperature down from hot to mild. The flat white flower heads of the cow parsley jiggle, the ivy leaves flutter.

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Definitely a good hare day

Brown hare

Regular readers of my blog will know that I love hares.  The rabbit’s bigger. scrawnier cousin, hares are easily recognised by their large, black-tipped ears. I think the reason I like them so much is that hares are tough. Rabbits dig burrows to shelter in: hares scrape a shallow depression in the ground (called a “form”) and then just sit there and take it. Blizzards, torrential downpours, heatwaves – the hare is exposed to it all. Brown hare Now hares

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A doe  and a drop of golden sun.

A doe - a female roe deer

  It’s said that humans like kittens and other young animals in part because we’re programmed to respond to the eyes of babies, which are large in proportion to their small heads when they are born. Large eyes are something we key in on, that arouse our protective instincts. Whether that’s true or not, some animals get an automatic “aaaaah,” rather than an automatic “uuurrrgghhh”. One of those is the doe, the female deer. Is that the reason why I,

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The swan and otter

otter

Regular readers will have noted my dilemma a couple of weeks ago about pub names. Well, I know what my (purely hypothetical) pub will be called now, after a visit to my local nature reserve. I’d taken my friend Rob on the promise that we might, just might, see an otter. I’ve seen them on this reserve before, but they are fickle creatures. There have been times when I’ve seen them every day, and others when I’ve spent long hours

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On the naming of pubs

Red fox vixen

When I was a child there was a pub near our home called the “Fox and Elm”. It had an elm tree outside, with a rather unconvincing plastic fox in it. Dutch Elm disease did for the tree, and I never found out what happened to the fox, but both were gone after a few years. But the practice of naming pubs after animals is common. ‘The Swan’ is England’s fifth most popular pub name, while ‘The Fox’ comes in

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