Sunday, 22 May 2011

A Heron and some Rabbits

It’s been a slow May so far on the photography front with the weather being distinctly not, late spring like, with very blustery cool winds, showers and generally unsettled.  This weekend, with a decent morning forecast but changeable later,  I thought I would pay a visit to the Rabbit warren I spent some time over Easter at. 

On the way, I spotted this Heron making the most of the lack of dog walkers about, to do some early morning fishing.  Herons are definitely one of those animals that has a certain tolerance circle around it – you know you can go so close to it before it will be off.  I kept my distance and let it get used to me and hoped I would be able to have the time before the inevitable dog came along and scared it off - I waiting until it turned away or plunged into the water, then I could move closer. I was able to get a few decent images before it eventually moved away across to the other side of the small lake, so I moved on.




On arrival at the warren, I plonked myself down at my usual spot which was becoming more overgrown with nettles and thistles, luckily, I chose to wear my thick trousers today making it less painful from my last visit.  The usual thirty or so minutes wait before the first head popped up and, as usual it was one of the younger ones braving it first.  Despite this, it seemed more nervous than normal and stamped its feet at the beginning as an alarm.  It went back in but another came out of another hole and while I focused my attention on that one I noticed an adult come out of the previous hole.  This had to have been the biggest Rabbit I have seen.  In the two pictures below you can see the first, younger one at the entrance and then the adult, taken at the exact same location and distance and it was too big to get in my frame and completely dwarfs the younger one.



This too seemed unsure of me, also stamping its feet, noticeably louder.  I guessed on this day, the reason why they were more nervous than usual was due to the stronger wind that was gusting in all directions, so my scent probably added to situation.  However, after a bit of a standoff it moved off and started feeding but keeping a suspicious eye on me, still not sure about me.  I reckoned it was a grizzled old timer and probably survived this long through being cautious.  With its size, it would have probably made a nice meal for the numerous predators around, though I bet it would have put up one heck of a fight if anything took it on.





After over two hours, my presence seemed finally excepted as half a dozen Rabbits were out and about feeding.  I noticed the older one getting a bit closer and so trained my lens on it.  It moved directly towards me, and following through my viewfinder, I figured there must have been a younger Rabbit it was maybe coming to stamp its authority on, but a quick look up I couldn’t see any, for some reason it was just coming to, seemingly, investigate me closer.  But just as it was becoming too big to fit into my viewfinder, it made for an entrance, looked up and then darted into the whole.  I looked up to see somebody's dog trying to get at the Rabbits.  Despite dogs supposed to be kept under control in this wildlife reserve, I could see the owners a distance away uninterested in what their dog was doing. 

After a two and a half hour uncomfortable sitting, getting them used to me so they would act normally, I wasn’t best pleased by this.  I wasn’t keen on waiting another few hours so decided to call it a day.





On the way back I passed, what I presumed was the same Heron I saw earlier that morning, now relaxing around in a field being indifferent to the odd dive bomb by some nearby Lapwings, yawning and stretching.



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