I noticed it by accident. Just a casual glance over the dry-stone wall. It was sitting upright amongst the cut grass; its long ears erect. The grass was dry and straw coloured. The South Devon cattle that usually grazed on it had moved to a greener fresher field. There was little left that was good to eat.
I had seen brown hares around here before.
The hare glanced around and perhaps sensing that something was up, loped wearily away from me.
It stopped again and sat back on its haunches, seemingly worn out by the short, brief exertion.
Something did not look right about it. Its brown fur was streaked with patches of grey, and it was thin.
It seemed to be all back legs and ears.
I continued to watch it despite the dogs pulling at their leads. They could not see the hare as there was dry-stone between them and it. The wall was solid, made of basalt from the disused quarry across the lane. Even so, there were little gaps to see through.
The hare was on the move again, but instead of heading away it had turned and sought the safety of the dry stone wall that marked the boundary at right angles to where I was standing, and slowly made its way towards me.
The closer it got it, the scruffier and worn out it seemed. Perhaps the dry weather was the problem. Rooks and badgers have been suffering so maybe the Hare?
It came to within ten feet of me, before it realised that it was being watched and with a swift turn of speed made off quickly, disappearing over a slight rise.
It was gone.
The dogs, oblivious to all the ‘hare action’ just a few feet away from them, were sitting quietly, and very patiently.
We carried on with our walk, I still thinking of the hare.