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Mad as a March hare! Striking photos show excited animals in mating season

John Boyle took these pictures of brown hares in fields around Capel St Mary. Picture: JOHN BOYLE

John Boyle took these pictures of brown hares in fields around Capel St Mary. Picture: JOHN BOYLE

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These big-eared creatures were certainly living up to their “mad March hare” reputation when snapped by a keen photographer near Capel St Mary.

John Boyle took these pictures of brown hares in fields around Capel St Mary. Picture: JOHN BOYLEJohn Boyle took these pictures of brown hares in fields around Capel St Mary. Picture: JOHN BOYLE

Nature enthusiast John Boyle had spotted the brown hares darting excitedly around fields near to the Suffolk village while walking his dog, Casper.

Hares are known to run, jump and box with other hares more extravagantly during their mating season in March, hence the popular phrase “mad as a March hare”.

John Boyle took these pictures of brown hares in fields around Capel St Mary. Picture: JOHN BOYLEJohn Boyle took these pictures of brown hares in fields around Capel St Mary. Picture: JOHN BOYLE

John Boyle took these pictures of brown hares in fields around Capel St Mary. Picture: JOHN BOYLEJohn Boyle took these pictures of brown hares in fields around Capel St Mary. Picture: JOHN BOYLE

Their antics are often a sign that spring is well and truly on its way.

Returning without his pet but with a camera before the UK-wide lockdown due to coronavirus, Mr Boyle said: “I decided to return to see if I could get some close-up photographs of the animals which were living up to their ‘mad March hare’ reputation, as the males chased the females who would ‘box’ the males to keep them at bay.

John Boyle took these pictures of brown hares in fields around Capel St Mary. Picture: JOHN BOYLEJohn Boyle took these pictures of brown hares in fields around Capel St Mary. Picture: JOHN BOYLE

John Boyle took these pictures of brown hares in fields around Capel St Mary. Picture: JOHN BOYLEJohn Boyle took these pictures of brown hares in fields around Capel St Mary. Picture: JOHN BOYLE

“I had some success by carefully approaching the hares downwind, setting up under the cover of the hedgerow and waiting for them to gradually come within range of my lens.

“But I also got some great images when a preoccupied hare ran towards me as I walked one of the footpaths, totally oblivious of my presence, and I managed to drop to the ground and focus as the obliging animal ran around just five metres from me.”

John Boyle took these pictures of brown hares in fields around Capel St Mary. Picture: JOHN BOYLEJohn Boyle took these pictures of brown hares in fields around Capel St Mary. Picture: JOHN BOYLE

MORE: That’s lunch! See hungry birds go in for the kill in ‘amazing sight’ at Suffolk lakes

Brown hares can often be spotted in fields throughout the year and can run at speeds of 45mph when evading predators.

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