Mountain Hare in the Cairngorms
Lots of people ask me about where is the best place to photograph Mountain Hare, Ptarmigan and this and that. In fact, most days I receive two to three emails asking for ‘gen’ for one thing or another. Probably the thing I get asked for the most is where to go to photograph Capercaillie.
Most of the time I send a polite response with links to one of the “where to photograph” guides I put together in conjunction with Birdguides. Occasionally if they are someone I know well I give them a bit more help, but it is always a hard call.
When I first found the Mountain Hare site it took 3 or 4 weeks of walking different hills to identify the best place to photograph Mountain Hares. For the first two years was mine and seeing another person was really unusual. Then others slowly started to find out. In some cases by emailing my clients for details about where it was after seeing their images on the internet. To the point we are at now that it can be swamped with photographers. How should I feel? The main thing I feel is responsibility for damage to the Hares and their ecosystem. I never imagined 5 years ago when I was searching for somewhere to go that the site would now be occupied by 20 or more people wandering around, chasing Hares. Naivety on my part I guess.
I sometimes convince myself that the more people that there are interested in Mountain Hares the more people will do to help protect them. Probably wishful thinking. I do wonder sometimes what happened to just getting out there and looking for stuff. I get that not everyone wants to pay for a guide (that’s partly why I helped to put the where to photograph guides together). But, surely part of the fun is looking at a map and picking a new location? Where there will be no one else. The moment is yours.