Black Bunny

A rather grey day at Farlington Marshes, it dried up at times but the dampness in the air remained all day giving a chilly feel to what should have felt a rather mild day for early January. The reserve was fairly busy all day with lots of birdwatchers, many looking for the red-breasted goose which, unfortunately, spent most of the day on the Tangier Road refuge site on Portsea Island. There were lots of brent geese on the marsh, including the pale-bellied brent and they were joined by the red-breasted goose late in the day, by which time most of the visitors had left.

brent in Hayfield

brent in Hayfield

Generally the day was quiet and my somewhat optimistic hope of seeing the four more bird species I needed to reach 100 for the year was not matched by reality. I did see my first skylark, I know they are not rare, but surprisingly difficult to see on the fields in the winter. I also saw my first slavonian grebe of the year, albeit very distantly down the Harbour from the Point. Rather nearer, although still distant were single scaup and eider also from the Point. Just over the seawall at the Point there was a pair of stonechat accompanied by a Dartford warbler.

I did snap one other bit of wildlife, not a bird but a rabbit, but one that was a bit out of the ordinary.

black rabbit

black rabbit

There are a few black rabbits along the eastern side of the reserve and a few other sites along the northern side of Langstone Harbour and they seem to be increasing so the genes appear to have some slight advantage. There is also one other differently coloured rabbit on the Marsh, this one is pure white and frequents the north-east wall, it seems not to be an albino, just white furred.

Other sightings today included the fine male peregrine, a few bearded tit in the reeds near the Building and the 12 or so avocet west of the Lake viewpoint.

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2 thoughts on “Black Bunny

  1. all wild rabbits carry the black gene and you will only find them where the rabbit population is thriving as for the white rabbit there are at least two on the marshes and were probibly ex pet rabbits that were set free.

    • Black rabbits occur fairly frequently along the northern shore of Langstone Harbour. I have known pet rabbits to be set free on the marshes several times, and only one to have survived for more than a few days and that only for a couple of weeks. There are there or more white rabbits on the reserve, all in the same area, although not together and all are albinos and look identical to wild rabbits in every other respect, I suspect the albino gene is present in this part of the population rather than released pet rabbits.

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