Moorland in the Peak District

Mountain hares (Lepus timidus) were once found widely across Great Britain (until sometime after the end of the last ice age), but now the only remnants of the original population are found in the Scottish Highlands (and in Ireland, where the population is a different subspecies). In the Peak District, it is thought that mountain hares died out in about 6,000bp. The only current English population of mountain hares is found on the Peak District moorlands, and was introduced in the 19th century.

The mountain hare is smaller than the brown hare, with shorter ears and has no black top to the tail. They are much easier to tell apart in winter, when the coat of the mountain hare turns white (often with a somewhat blueish tinge).

Birds

Moorlands are home to a number of ground-nesting birds. Red grouse (Lagopus lagopus) is probably one of the most frequently seen of these, not least because many moors are managed as grouse moors. This management results in the patchwork pattern seen on many moors, as stands of heather are burned in rotation to provide both older heather, which provides shelter and nesting areas, and younger heather, which provides heather shoots for food.

One of the problems that ground nesting birds face is trampling of the nest. This Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) is displaying in an attempt to shoo away a sheep which has wandered disturbingly close to its nest.Lapwings are found in upland areas mainly in the breeding season, where they usually nest on fields at the edges of moorland. Lapwing have suffered significant declines in recent years.
Dunlin (Calidris alpina) are small waders which breed on moorlands, returning to the coast in winter.
Meadow pipits (Anthus pratensis) are a very common sight on moorlands, mostly in summer.
Curlew (Numenius arquata) are large wading birds, arriving on moorlands for the breeding season (april to july). For the rest of the year they are found around the coast, particularly on estuaries.