Lamb Surveillance

An incident this morning reminded me, quite forcefully, of another reason to stay well away from ewes with new lambs.  I stopped to photograph this young fellow, who was calling for his mama.  She wasn't answering, and I kept going, figuring they'd work it out.  

  The adventuresome laddie, watching me watching him.  The ewe above isn't his mama--she has her own baby tucked away up there.  

The adventuresome laddie, watching me watching him.  The ewe above isn't his mama--she has her own baby tucked away up there.  

However, he decided to follow me, an instinctive and generally useful response of newly hatched creatures--follow that big thing near you, and you'll probably get fed.  Not this time.  When I first realised what he'd done, he was a good 300 metres from his mama.

He was prepared to walk up to me when I got out of the Polaris and approached him, but once he got a whiff, it was "No way you're my mama!" He led me a merry chase uphill and around a hollow tree.  At one point he even stamped his tiny little foot at me.  Finally, I caught him and got him back to his mama, who seemed mostly just perplexed by his absence and why he was being returned by the human.

  This ewe was tracking me from long telephoto range, in an arc of 180 degrees as I worked to get around her without disturbing her.

This ewe was tracking me from long telephoto range, in an arc of 180 degrees as I worked to get around her without disturbing her.

There is so much "wild" nature still in our domesticated animals.  Although there are few predators in this environment, and none willing to tackle a mama sheep, the ewes are hyper-vigilant, preferring uphill, open sites where they would be able to see lions (just as a for instance) approaching.  Their maternal instincts are strong, and I try hard to let them exercise those instincts unhindered by human intervention.

  This little one was only a few hours old.  It'll take him weeks to grow into his ears.

This little one was only a few hours old.  It'll take him weeks to grow into his ears.

Getting photos of the lambykins in the long grass this year has proven a real challenge.  I could use some of those fancy surveillance tools the CIA is rumoured to be developing.  Or not.  Maybe I'll just stick with plain old Sherlockian technique--know your quarry and be patient.

  The only set of twins so far.  They are now travelling, and resting, with the flock.

The only set of twins so far.  They are now travelling, and resting, with the flock.