Three Little Hares
Hares have been scarce these past few years, but their cycle is finally on an upswing. We have a long-term monitoring transect along part of Bolton Road, a narrow gravel road through Jack Pine plantation and Cedar fencerows. This evening I was passing that way on my way to Meeting, and saw three Hares - the most in as many years! The first one vanished into the woods without having crossed the road. The second one, half a kilometre south on same side (west), was sitting thoughtfully, not noticing me at all. Perhaps it was in shock, having just witnessed the fate of the next Hare I saw, which was being eaten on the shoulder of the road by a gray & white raptor – male Marsh Hawk I think. I made a sketch of it on my handheld computer, not having brought my camera. When I drove past the hawk at first, I noticed it as a white bird sitting at the edge of the ditch, less than half a metre from my passing wheels. It hardly looked up from its eating. When I backed up, glancing around for my absent camera, it looked wary. As I stopped and stared, creeping the vehicle forward a little, the hawk became nervous, and flew up, lifting the carcass a bit before dropping it to take off eastward across the road and away. Pale grey back, wings & tail, and white rump. The Hare's flesh was exposed about its shoulders. I took off too, leaving the Hare to the hawk, supposing that it would still be wanted - but stopped again to do my quick memory sketch.
As we stepped out of Ray's doorway after meeting, one of us stepped on a June Beetle – I retrieved it as evidence of early emergence. No-one has seen them before this.
On my way home, I passed a large deer, still grey-coated, watching my lights on the road surface and hesitating. I realized how little hope I would have had of avoidance if it had decided to cross just as I passed.