Wednesday, 2 October 2013

A Trip Round The Hills and a Hare Raising Moment.

I was showing my friend Philippa around our area and as we left Montcelebre a male Sparrowhawk flew in front of the car carrying prey. We drove first to St.Jean de Minervois and then headed west.  We saw few birds until we reached the Boisset area.  A Peregrine appeared briefly overhead and a splendid Wheatear performed right in front of the car.

Northern Wheatear

Moving through Boisset we noted a Black Redstart on the church roof and stopped to admire the splendid display of Autumn Crocus.  At Bois Bas there was a family of 5 Stonechats and a single Common Redstart.  We finished up in Fauzan where we noted 3 Woodlarks and a female Ring Ouzel. Heading back a Short-toed Eagle was being mobbed by a Kestrel.

Mountain Hare
Mountain Hare
Just before dusk Beryl drew my attention to a hare which had just run up our drive and was standing near my car.  I was able to get a number of photos and although I knew it to be a hare I was puzzled because it did not look as big as a Brown Hare and had a white collar and all white tail.  Checking guides I am sure this is a Mountain Hare but in the only book I have it says they are only found in the Alps in France.  I have seen Brown Hare in this area but never this species before.  How did it get here?  There has been lots of hunting today so maybe it was frightened into the sanctuary of my garden.  Maybe hunters are releasing them for sport?  If anyone thinks I have got this wrong or knows more about their distribution in France please let me know.

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