Despite the cocktail of sun, rain, hail and snow all in four days I managed to have an excellent Easter weekend of wildlife watching. I heard my first chiffchaff this week, which can only mean spring is on its way despite the occasional blizzard!
Osprey season has begun and I spotted my first of the year on Saturday. That was the hottest day in a long time and sunglasses were essential for squinting up at the sky. As well as seeing this stunning male osprey hovering over the estuary, I saw my first sand martin of the year (too nippy for a photo) and my first ever grey plover, which was a rare visitor to the area.
That evening the excitement continued with my first gannets and bottlenose dolphins of the year! It was a gorgeous evening with a cracking sunset, made even prettier by the appearance of three dolphins that cruised all the way around the headland. There were a couple of distant breaches too far away for a photo but it was so lovely to see dolphins again. I can’t wait for the season to kick off properly when there will be sightings on most days!
But the most exciting encounter happened on dry land.
I knew there were hares nearby as I often saw them dashing across the open fields, too fast and far away for a photo. I wondered if I pulled up with the windows down safari style whether they might appear a bit closer. For a photographer, a car can be an excellent wildlife hide.
I passed the time watching pheasants foraging. Every now and then the male would do his screech call and flap his wings, which looked lovely in the early morning light.
I waited for him to do it again but he wasn’t playing ball. My hands were going numb and I was just about to put the camera down when a hare appeared behind him.
I froze, actually hearing my heart thud as it padded towards me. Once it was ten feet from my lens it sat and stared right at me before lolloping back behind the bales. Even though it could see me, there was something about me being in the car that had relaxed it enough to check me out.
Once I was sure it had gone I checked the photos and actually cried looking at them, which has never happened before. The combination of shock, joy and relief was overwhelming and I almost couldn’t believe what had happened.
It’s been an Easter weekend full of treats, from soaring ospreys to sunlit dolphins to breathtaking views of one of the most iconic Easter animals: the gorgeous hare. Thank you Mother Nature!