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March Wildlife Spectacles

A Blue-tit in spring

The first of March heralds spring; the mornings are getting lighter, the dawn chorus is in full swing. It’s a busy month in terms of wildlife as they are becoming more active, and love is in the air.

As wildlife - nature photographer living in the UK, we are fortunate to have a lot of wildlife within these shores.

I have personally selected some wildlife highlights that you should try and capture during this month.

A Grumpy Mountain Hare in the snow
Mountain Hare

Mountain hare (Lepus Timidus)

March is the start of the breeding season, so it is a great time to see this spectacle. The Hares will still be in their winter pelage, and if lucky, there will be snow on the ground.

Mountain hares are found in the North of England and have a stronghold in Scotland. Their preferred habitat is upland areas, most common on heathland.

I’ve photographed these beauties in the peak district and within the Cairngorms

An Adder in the woods
Adder

Adder (Vipera Berus)

The Adder has a wide distribution; however, it’s been declining, so it is a major conservation concern. Adders start to come out of their winter slumber in March, which is a great time to watch the male adders perform their “dance”. Males will compete with each other to fend off rivals for the right to mate.

Adders are more common in the south of the UK, but don’t let this put you off. Check out heathlands, commons, moorland, sea cliffs, dunes and woodland where they can be seen basking in the morning Sun

*Note Adders are protected by law and are the only venomous snake in the UK, so please take care and keep a safe distance if you are lucky enough to have an encounter

Common Frog in a pond
Common Frog

Common Frog (Rana temporaria)

March is a great time to capture the common frog. Love is in the air, its breeding season. You can hear the male frogs croaking, trying to attract a mate or ward off rival males.

These should be easier to find and be accessible to everyone. Regularly check your local pond or lakes.

Don’t confuse the common frog with the common toad.

Mostly brown or olive green in colour, slender in appearance, they have smooth skin with dark patches: stripey hind legs, webbed feet and a dark band around the eyes.

Great Crested Grebe mating ritual
Great Crested Grebe "Mating Ritual"

Great Crested Grebes (Podiceps cristatus)

The great crested grebe is a resident within the UK, a graceful, good looking bird with a large plume on its head with an orange ruff on its neck. It is easily identified

They can be photography year-round, but March is the best time to witness the intricate courtship dance. This includes mewing, synchronised swimming; it will culminate in the famous “penguin dance”. This is where both birds come together, bursting out of the water chest to chest with weed in their beaks. The wildlife equivalent of the scene from dirty dancing.

Widely distributed across lowland area, check out your local lake for potential residents

Brown Hare
Brown Hare

Brown Hare (Lepus europaeus)

I know I have already included the mountain hare, but I couldn’t draft a post without highlighting the brown hare too. To coin the phrase “Mad as a March hare”, Just like the mountain hare, it’s the start of the breeding season.

If you are lucky, you will see hares boxing; a common misconception is that its two males. In actual fact, it’s the female fighting off the amorous males

Brown hares are easily identifiable, a golden-brown coat with a pale belly and a white tail—long leg’s and ears with distinctive black tips.

It is most common in grassland habitats, and at woodland edges, there are larger populations in the following counties Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire.

The best time to see these beauties are early morning and late evening.

The wrap up

This is a small selection; there are lots more species to photography; let me know in the comment below your favourites.

All I ask is that when you are out and about, you respect nature and be an ethical photographer.