Living in a post-industrial city not exactly renowned for its abundance of wildlife, getting a nature fix usually involves hopping in the car to reach reserves which have a reputation for attracting my target species of the month. With it getting into mid-March I had one thing in mind: the sprightly antics of the mad-March hare, a concept immortalised by writer’s such as Lewis Carroll when Alice, in Wonderland, hypothesises that the March hare won't be ‘raving mad’ in May, ‘at least not so mad as it was in March.’
Alas, with the government’s sudden announcement of a nationwide lockdown scuppering my plans to catch these elusive mammals springing into mating mode, it was time to hang up the car keys and embrace the less romantic wilds around my suburban locality.
Imagine my shock then, when a spontaneous route into the countryside on my daily exercise romp soon found me frozen-browed on the edge of a field as a pair of black-tipped, upright ears bounded towards me, before vanishing like a wizard’s act into the hedgerow. A magical experience! And I’d walked 15 minutes from my house on the edge of a city populated with around 326,000 people.