Over the last week, I've been conducting a number of Red Grouse Workshops in the Dark Peak area of Derbyshire and on yesterdays final trip we encountered one of England's rarest mammals...The Mountain Hare.
Having spent many hours last winter, trying to find and get close to these exceptionally shy creatures, it came as a huge surprise to be able to get fairly near to one on open moorland with a minimum of effort...
The Mountain Hare, although fairly common in the Highlands of Scotland is only found in this area of the Dark Peak in England and they are not at all easy to find.
They usually bolt as soon as they see you, but yesterday's Hare which was a youngster in summer coat seemed fearless.
I'm quite sure that we could have got even closer to this Hare, but after getting a few shots we decided to leave him be and carry on pursuing the Grouse, which were playing very hard to get.
The Mountain Hare is notably smaller than the much more common Brown Hare and is Britain's only true native Hare.
They are thought to have been around since the Ice Age, with the Brown Hare being a relative newcomer in comparison after being introduced by the Romans.
The Mountain Hare retains it's brown summer coat from May until October, before it transforms into it's white winter coat which is perfect camouflage against the snowy backdrop of the high Peak District habitat.
I photographed this Mountain Hare below, last April just as his winter coat was starting the change to the summer one...