Wild Time


Feel the beat of spring

Be dazzled by bluebells

Harken to a bittern's boom

Seek a swooping sand martin

Pen poetry among daffodils

Sway with dancing grebes

Get sent packing by a grouse

Take a ringside seat

Track down a tiger

Watch a rare sky dance

Chatter with a natterjack

Enjoy the great rush north

Look up in awe

Shine a light on newts

Eavesdrop on a nightingale

Go spotting early orchids

Follow a sat-tagged osprey

Gape at hunting hobbies

Nurse a passion for purple

Scour riverbanks for Ratty

Tip-toe among fritillaries



Hail the success of avocets

Go batty as night falls

Bewitched by a buttercup

Play the summertime blues

Thrill to damsels and dragonflies

Go after Dartford warbler

Make a splash with gannets

Stake out a badger sett

Hurrah for the king

Rejoice in Manxie's chorus

Delight in a glow worm

Fall for THE fastest bird

Be spellbound by orchids

Journey to a seabird city

Exalt at a skylark's song

Party with the puffins

Lounge with a lizard

Haunt a churring nightjar

Head seawards on safari

Discover the rare spoonbill

Join the toadlet exodus

Spot our largest butterfly

Wear a hat for terns

Hunt woodland beauties



Admire our eager beavers

Marvel at migration

Forage for Autumn's bounty

Go nuts over squirrel nutkin

Ramble through purple

Gaze in awe at reds' rut

Wander in the wild wood

Cheer on the salmon run

Try a wild goose chase

Foray for fungi



Pay homage to the Russians

Go on a winter ghost hunt

Wonder at wintering waders

Fall in love with a seal pup

Hear Britain's tallest bird

Revel in roosting wagtails

Kiss beneath mistletoe

'Ooh' & 'aah' at murmurations

Lie in wait for an otter

Rock 'n' roll with geology

Wrap up for a raptor roost

Take a ringside seat

Image © Elliot Neep

Early spring is the best time to see the fastest land mammal in the country, the brown hare.

Get up early to increase your chances of finding a boxing match

Reaching speeds of 40 miles per hour at full pelt, the brown hare is one of our great athletes, easily able to outpace Usain Bolt.  The brown hare’s great speed can make it a tricky character to get a good look at.  Luckily, “mad March hares” choose a different sport in the spring, taking up boxing instead of sprinting.  The pugilists are actually the females, spurning the advances of amorous males by boxing their prospective partners.  With their activity much more noticeable before the grass and crops have grown up to their full height, it is not surprising that the “mad March hare” has come to have such a strong connection with the spring.  The pagan festival of the spring equinox took its name from the Teutonic goddess of the dawn,  Eostre, whose sacred animal was the hare.  Despite rumours to the contrary, the Easter Bunny who will be visiting us later in the spring is not a rabbit but a hare.

How to do it

Changes in agriculture have seen a dramatic decline in hare numbers. The best places to look are open grassy or arable fields, particularly near to woodland fringes or decent hedgerows where hares can find shelter.  Get up early to increase your chances of finding a boxing match, and stay down wind to avoid your scent giving you away.  And leave the dog at home!

If you can’t get to the special places listed below… Don’t worry; the Easter Bunny will come to you! Just don’t eat all that chocolate at once… 

Special spots

The great flat expanses of the Fens are as good a place to spot boxing hares as any: try visiting the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust reserves at Willow Tree Fen or Baston Fen and check the fields in between the two.

Derbyshire, Woodside Farm 

Devon, Meeth Quarry 

Durham, Rainton Meadows 

Essex, Blue House Farm

Lancashire, Brockholes

Norfolk, Upton Broad and Marshes

Sussex, Malling Down

Brown hare © Don Sutherland