CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to EADT Suffolk today CLICK HERE

Wildlife photography: Haring about

PUBLISHED: 13:09 25 February 2016 | UPDATED: 13:10 25 February 2016

Brown hares boxing

Brown hares boxing


Wildlife photographer Kevin Sawford is ringside for some hare boxing action


March is traditionally known as the month that brown hares can be seen boxing. Actually they can be seen throughout the year, but in the spring the crops and other vegetation are either lower, or not sown, giving us a better chance to see the hares.

Many people think that boxing hares are two males fighting for dominance, like deer stags in the autumn, but in fact it’s usually a female coming into season fighting off an amorous male, as she’s not ready to mate.

Unlike the sport of boxing with its Queensbury rules the hare version can be very rough and one-sided. You will often see a female being chased by a number of males – it looks like a hare train as the animals zig zag across the field. Hares can reach around 45mph so the action can be fast and furious. The classic boxing pose is when the female is caught and is trying to fend off her suitor.

Unlike rabbits, hares do not live underground in a burrow, but create a ‘form’, a small depression in the ground, or among grasses or a crop. The animals sit out in these forms in all weathers, often in the middle of a field for security, so they can see any predators approaching. Even after a heavy snowfall I have found hares in a field with just their heads poking out of the snow.

A female hare can come into season three or four times a year, which is why the boxing can be seen throughout the year. She will produce a litter of two to four leverets, which will be left to fend for themselves close to their birth site, with the mother only returning once a day for the first month to feed them.

This image of hares boxing was taken close to the village of Risby, near Bury St Edmunds. I’d spent several days at this location capturing a number of different images of hare behaviour, but no boxing. Hares spend an awful lot of time sleeping, so it can be a long wait for some action. But on this particular spring evening I noticed this pair running in my direction. Luckily the female turned, stood her ground and persuaded the male he was not going to get his way.

Brown hares are one of my favourite subjects to photograph and we have a strong population in Suffolk. Hopefully I will photograph a few more rounds of boxing this year.

March highlights

March is the month that we hopefully see the end of winter, and spring starts to set in. Many species will be starting to breed and the countryside will be full of new life. Many garden birds will be busy feeding their young. On our waterways you will start to see ducklings, goslings and cygnets. Fox cubs will be emerging from their dens by the end of the month.

Many bird species that have spent winter in the warmer climates of southern Europe or Africa will be seen stopping off for a few days before heading to their breeding grounds further north, like wheatears, ring ouzels and whinchats, while summer residents, like swallows, house martins and warblers, will be back to reaffirm their territories.

On warmer days early emerging butterflies, such as red admiral, peacock, small tortoiseshell, orange-tip and brimstone, will be seen on the wing.

And throughout the region groups of volunteers will be out at night with torches and buckets to give toads a helping hand across busy roads to their spawning sites.

Kevin Sawford is an award winning professional wildlife photographer based in Suffolk. He runs photographic workshops for the Suffolk Wildlife Trust, plus other days, and he is represented by the RSPB images agency. You can find details at Facebook Kevin Sawford Photography, Twitter @KSawfordphoto


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other EADT Suffolk Magazine visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by EADT Suffolk Magazine staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique EADT Suffolk Magazine account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & About

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Beccles & District Museum in Sir John Leman’s House high above the River Waveney, was home to an historic free school for over 350 years | Words & Photos: Lindsay Want

Read more
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

There’s nowhere quite like Suffolk during the festive period with so many different places putting you right in the Christmas spirit. Here are 10 great places for you to shop, stay and visit

Read more
Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Make sure there’s plenty of battery on your camera, you’re going to be doing a lot of snapping. We’ve picked 18 places in Suffolk where you can find the very best views

Read more
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

It may be Suffolk’s coastal towns and villages that largely get all the attention but our county town has been one Britain’s most important port locations and has an incredibly rich culture and heritage. Here are 24 reasons you should love Ipswich

Read more
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

We’re lucky to have such a diverse selection of towns and villages in Suffolk to explore, experience and live in. Here are 9 must-see streets to consider for your next journey round the county.

Read more
Friday, September 28, 2018

Lindsay Want treads the ancient paths of pilgrims and mighty barons between Castle Hedingham and Clare

Read more
Tuesday, September 25, 2018

The Suffolk coast is a fantastic place to explore, whatever the season. So, whether you love sinking your toes into sandy beaches, cycling quiet country lanes, going off the beaten walking track, watching wildlife, soaking up some local history, or simply wandering around charming coastal towns, there’s plenty to keep everyone happy.

Read more
Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Lindsay Want steps into the artist’s iconic painting of 18th century Bulmer couple Mr & Mrs Andrews

Read more
Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Do you know your Bawdseys from your Blakeneys and your Cromers from your Covehithes? Take our quiz to test your knowledge of the Suffolk and Norfolk coast!

Read more
Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Sitting pretty along the coast and moving a little way in land, Suffolk is home to some wonderful towns and villages perfect for a weekend away, day trip or even a summer staycation

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

EADT Suffolk Magazine regular newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search