Highlands & Islands

Mild winter leaves mountain hare exposed in Cairngorms

Mountain hare in Southern Cairngorms Image copyright Paul Noble/SAIS Southern Cairngorms
Image caption Mountain hare in the Southern Cairngorms

A hare photographed against a snowless, green hillside has highlighted the unseasonably mild conditions in Scotland's hills this December.

The image was captured in the Southern Cairngorms on Sunday by the Sportscotland Avalanche Information Service (SAIS).

The service's latest season started last week amid some of the warmest conditions experienced by its teams.

However, there was snow on Sunday above 1,000ft in the Northern Cairngorms.

Image copyright SAIS Northern Cairngorms
Image caption Snow in the Northern Cairngorms on Sunday

Mountain hares change colour from brown to white to better camouflage themselves against winter snow.

Also known as blue hares, they are found in the Scottish Highlands, parts of Derbyshire and throughout Ireland.

SAIS avalanche forecasters photographed mountain hares in snowy scenes last winter, including one in the Southern Cairngorms in January.

Image copyright SAIS Southern Cairngorms
Image caption A mountain hare in the Southern Cairngorms last winter

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