Friday, 31 July 2015

Mountain hare survey

I joined the mountain hare survey team again today.  We walked up Lammer Law once more, stopping to enjoy the views to the north, across the Firth of Forth, over to Fife.

The landmark twin chimneys of Cockenzie power station were visible - as always.  But not for much longer.  They are due for demolition on 26 September.  The event seems to have taken on the morbid attraction of a public execution.  Tickets have been sold.  I think there has even been a raffle to win the right to press the 'exploding' button.  I am glad we will be away.  I am rather fond of the twins, and will miss them.  Certainly the landscape will not look the same without them!
The ling heather is not quite flowering, just a few plants, here and there.  The colour across the hillsides is coming from the bell heather.  
I had to look up this little cluster of delicate loveliness.  I have seen it before, lots of times, but never bothered to find out what it is.  I think it's reindeer lichen, Cladonia portentosa.  The end of each little spear does resemble reindeer antlers.
And I certainly had to look up this next specimen, because I had never seen it before.   After some enquiry, I now know that it is stag's horn clubmoss.  There wasn't much of it, but in the photo below it is lining a tiny, cosy little cubbyhole in the bank, which some small creature has been nestling into.  Maybe a leveret.
 The fresh green foliage across the hillsides is bilberry. 
We saw five hares today.  I saw four, the others glimpsed the fifth.  This is a poor photograph because I don't have a strong zoom lens on my point and squirt camera, but it's good enough to prove that we were looking for, and saw, the mountain hare!
As we came off the hills we saw a charm of goldfinches, swooping around over the bracken, and then large drops of rain began to fall, just as we reached the car.  Excellent timing!


  1. Loved the hare. I've seen several this summer after a long gap. Such fantastic creatures. CT :o)

  2. From one Hampshire girl to another - welcome to the running wave! It's lovely to hear from you, and I will be exploring your blog over the weekend! Best wishes, A

  3. To truly be a local - whether you were born and bred in an area - is irrelevant! It is what you do to know your area! Joining chosen groups or a group or volunteering shows a respect for wanting to be involved and care!
    And more over a respect for everything around you! Credit to you Mrs Running Wave!
    Talking of hares - The Antiques Road Show had a rare beauty in the episode I was watching last night... A small beautifully carved Japanese ornament hare ... Hunkered down with ears flat against his body and his excessive hair/bulges nicely rounded around him!
    The lady owner was thrilled to know he was rare and less importantly worth a small fortune!
    Happy Hare Day! x

  4. It was lovely up there - away from everything. But a cold wind blowing, not the least bit summery! Worth it though! A x

  5. It is just the place for peace and solitude!
    Can't wait to get back to my walks!
    Stir crazy but lots of time to read! And look at various blogs! X

  6. Have a look at Lots of lovely stuff there to keep you dreaming of Hampshire in Australia! A x

  7. I must confess I already did! Bop - what a brilliant story!
    My ma used to do those kinds of things... We always had wild life at home including my brother!
    Brilliant blog! I can travel all around the UK via blogs... Know of anyone who writes one in Devon/Cornwall?
    Love xx

  8. I will have a hunt around! I know sandyshoes is a Cornwall lady, but she has been very busy this summer, with visitors from Australia, so hasn't had much time for her blog. I am sure she will be back, maybe once the children are back at school. A x