Brambles

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The sheep are enjoying their new found freedom, luscious green pastures, sunshine and warm temperatures. Sunshine is forecast for the coming week with ever increasing temperatures. Summer just around the corner. Meanwhile the brambles are an ever present hazard and several sheep have already got caught up in them.

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I watched as this ewe (above) managed to tug itself free from a bramble bush taking a long piece with it, which was soon transferred to another ewe with its lamb in tow. (below).

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Update – 20.05.2020

Another ewe drags half a bramble bush behind it, thankfully the rest have endured their freedom well and for the most part seem to have learned from their earlier mistakes.

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Grass is greener

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The grass really is greener on the other side and these sheep are no fools. They continue to find ways to breach the fencing despite all our efforts. Who can blame them when the grass on the other side is clearly more inviting than their own well trodden meadow. Yesterday it was over the fence and today under, but like all things in life the inviting field is not without its hazards and here it is the brambles, which snag the sheep’s wool taking them prisoner until I or someone else can free them.

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The ram and a younger sheep made their escape today leaving the rest looking on with envy.

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Black lamb

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Remember Doris ? Featured in previous posts. It looks like she has given birth to a little black lamb. The first lamb of Spring here on the hillside and it’s a glorious warm, sunny day. Doris, forever nervous since the wolf encounter last year, was particularly nervous today and I could not get withing 50 meters of her without disturbing them so this was the best I could do even with my telephoto lens.

Doris

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Sheep tuck into a welcomed bale of hay as snow returns to the hillside. I knew a cold front was on the way but I was not expecting snow again. I think the woodpecker was equally surprised as he was noticeably silent today. ‘Doris’ the ewe (right in photo) always keeps her distance while the others dive into the hay with abandon. Doris is actually the one remaining sheep from the last flock and still suffers, I suspect, from trauma after a lamb and the other ewe were taken by a wolf last year. However she does respond when I coax her to come forward and tuck in, albeit very warily. So even sheep respond to being spoken to, believe it or not.

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Breakfast

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Yesterday the first snow of the year arrived as temperatures plummeted to zero. Today however it’s warm again with temperatures expected in double figures. Meanwhile the forecast for the coming days is a high of 17C degrees then next week a drop to -8C. 17C in January! A real roller coaster ride and quite unusual as temperature usually hover around zero this time of year. Meanwhile the sheep tuck into their welcomed breakfast.

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Freedom II

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Another stressful morning freeing two more sheep caught in brambles. It took me half an hour hacking my way through brambles, shoulder high, to get to this one. This is a new problem as the last flock took no interest in brambles (blackberry bushes) but these new sheep seem to have a taste for them.

After rounding up the flock the owner and I managed to get them into another area fenced off and away from the worst of the brambles.

Freed!

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I had to rescue three young sheep this morning trapped in brambles, an ever present hazard here. This one took around 20 minutes to free as I had no tools with me to cut away the thick bramble stalks. The wool had become tangled and wrapped around the stalks and the young sheep was literally hanging from vegetation on the steep hillside. Note the tufts of wool everywhere, it must have struggled all night. I found two more young sheep  elsewhere caught in brambles, they seem to like eating them, which could account how they become trapped.

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Meanwhile another young sheep that had been hanging around came to inspect the damage and seeing its mate freed called it to join him but was duly ignored. The young sheep seemed more interested in eating, no doubt not having eaten for sometime. So the other wandered back to the flock, satisfied I imagine that all was OK now.

A while later …

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I discover on the way back to its flock the young brown sheep became trapped on the corrugated roof of a small shack,  caught up in a cable, but once freed it too joined the rest. The flock finally together again, minus the first one I freed, which seems to have taken umbrage with its family. So that makes four rescued in one day. I just hope the flock has learned from that experience and stick to the grassy pastures in future.

Autumn

It’s a mild autumn day and perfect for a stroll among the falling leaves. The squirrels are out in force today and the first one I encounter is just a few feet from my doorway. After that I see several more collecting nuts ready for their winter hibernation.

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It is still so mild that even butterflies are out and I also see another hummingbird hawk moth but fail to photograph it. However while sorting through my images I came across two nice photos I had overlooked in my eagerness to post the previous humming hawk moth photos.

Meanwhile I reflect on today’s welcome news that eleven supreme court judges have unanimously ruled against Boris Johnson. I think it is the first time I have felt any relief since the start of the whole Brexit saga. It is a great day for the rule of law, if not democracy.

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Just minding his own business … zen-like.

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‘Nuts whole hazel nuts’ … a mouthful of nuts ready for winter

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The hummingbird hawk moth close up from my last encounter.

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Note the particularly long proboscis.

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A red admiral butterfly seen for the first time this year.

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A jay finds a convenient wooden handrail to perch on.

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… and sheep are doing their best to keep the grass trimmed on the hillsides.