March Hare

Lakeside path, pencil and watercolour, from a photograph taken at lunchtime.

10.15 a.m.: It’s almost a year since we walked the circuit of Langsett Reservoir. We always go anticlockwise as the lakeside path through the pines gets us off to a brisk start; we prefer to leave picking our way through the mud at the far corner of the lake until later.

coal tit flits about, investigating the branches of a lakeside pine.

As we climb the rocky path up to the moor, a robin perches in a shrub on the heathy slope.

On the moor, red grouse are calling: a repeated phrase, with the rhythm of several unsuccessful attempts to start a one-cylinder petrol mower.

curlew repeats its bubbling call over an expanse of heather. Down by the lake we hear a shrill piping, which we guess is a sandpiper.

On our way out here, near Cawthorne, we briefly spotted a brown hare running alongside a fence. On the moor, a dead hare, lying by the track, looks like a grisly image from a Ted Hughes poem.

2 p.m.: Close to the bank by The Island at Horbury Bridge, a dabchick is diving.

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