Sam-Bull Shetland

My eight-year-old grandson sat beside me on the settee at home and, on watching Friday’s video, asked if Jill’s new bull calf could be named after him. So the calf’s name is now Sam-Bull Shetland.

Later, a panicked Jill Shetland galloped through Hoo Brook Pasture gate and down the corridor, coming to a dead-stop at North Riverside Pasture gate. She had a quick look into the pasture before walking slowly back along the corridor stock fence, stopping now and again to peer intently into the swamp. I guessed that she had lost her calf.

A few minutes later, and breaking into a spirited gallop, Jill headed resolutely for Hoo Brook Pasture; I felt her slipstream as she passed me standing at the bottom of the corral ramp. We both searched Hoo Brook Pasture, which is thick with tall and powerful stinging nettles, alder saplings and large spear thistle bushes. There are many secluded places for a little new-born calf to hide or sleep here. We didn’t find Sam-Bull Shetland. As Jill desperately and repeatedly called to her calf, I felt apprehensive. I reassured myself with the thought that the calf was most likely sleeping safely somewhere close by.

Suddenly, Jill reared her head and gave out a piercing shriek. She galloped towards the corridor again. I followed, but at a much slower pace. She was standing at the stock fence, close to the North Riverside Pasture gate, looking intently into the Swamp. I scanned the area with binoculars, but saw no sign of the calf. Many animal tracks criss-crossed the ground on the Swamp side of the gate, but there was no definitive signs of a little calf having passed this way recently. I made my way along the line of Jill’s unwavering stare. Approximately fifty metres swam-side of the stock fence, I found the calf fast asleep on a soft grassy bed surrounded by thistles, blissfully unaware of the anxiety he was causing. I woke the little fella, but he was not at all in the mood to re-join his mother; he was happy enough on his warm bed, thank you very much! I lifted him to his feet and pushed the reluctant animal through luxuriant vegetation and finally under the barbed wired stock fence to the waiting Jill; even then, he wanted to go back to his cosy Swamp sleeping spot. This little bull has a pleasant nature, an endearing independence of character and spirit, and is a very good namesake for my grandson.

A video takes over from here:

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Another Bull Calf Was Born on Wilden Marsh Today

From Hoo Brook ramp I could see Jill Shetland on her own in Hoo Brook Corridor. The other herd members were busy grazing Hoo Brook Pasture. Jill looked at me and then nervously into the dense vegetation near the stock fence. She again looked at me and again into the dense vegetation. I walked over to her; a metre away was Jill’s new-born calf. The calf lay dead still with its eyes fully open. I approached slowly. The calf looked up and allowed me to stroke it. The calf stood, shakily, and I stroked it behind its ears and along its neck and back. New born calves usually run from me, but this one was happy to be handled. Jill looked on and lowed softly. Jill has given birth to a bull calf.

Lowing softly, Jill took charge and led her new calf into Hoo Brook Pasture to meet the herd. I videoed the event with my phone camera.

I thought I had a conservation herd grazing Wilden Marsh, but it looks like I now have a nursery herd.

Terry Bull might be lacking in stature, but he is certainly on top of his job.

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The Hot Spoon Works

I walked a warm, humid, north marsh this evening. My exposed skin was protected with Jungle Formula, which is essential at this time of year on Wilden Marsh. However, mosquitoes bit my elbows through my shirt sleeves. I will spray the elbows of my shirt sleeves with insect repellent to prevent the elbow biting problem in future. At home later, large, itching, bite blisters were incredibly uncomfortable. I remembered a recent blog comment suggesting that a hot spoon placed on a mosquito bite will destroy the proteins responsible for swelling and itching. I tried this solution and it works! I heated a metal table spoon in a mug of boiling water each time I applied it to a bite. There were eight mosquito bites altogether and I applied the hot spoon to each in this way, two to three times just to make sure I gave the treatment a good chance of succeeding. The itching stopped immediately and there is no evidence of mosquito bites on my elbows this morning. Thanks to the thoughtful person who posted the bite solution comment.

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Colourful North Pasture

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Calves Playing and Suckling

The herd made the move from Falling Sands Nature Area successfully this morning, crossing the service road and Hoo Brook bridge to access Hoo Brook Pasture; although, they were a bit slow to get going at first. As usual the move disturbed their rest period. I tried to get Waynetta the lead the herd, but she is too easily distracted by tasty morsels. Finally, Tulip picked up her hooves and ran for Hoo Brook bridge and the others took her lead and quickly followed. So it was an easy move in the end, particularly with help from Rangers Ollie and Adam to make sure that the new calves didn’t do anything silly.

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Male Banded Demoiselle

Males are usually territorial, but large numbers can sometimes be found on lush bankside plants and floating objects. They court females by opening their wings and performing an aerial dance. They are usually found in or near pools, ponds, canals and quiet rivers with muddy bottoms located in open country.

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A Late Spring Evening Walk Down to Falling Sands Nature Area.

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Harlequin Ladybird Pupa (Harmonia axyridis)

The harlequin ladybird (Harmonia axyridis) is a multi-coloured Asian, or simply Asian ladybeetle, is a large coccinellid beetle.

These beetles make use of pheromones to signal to each other, resulting the large gatherings often seen in the autumn. However, many aggregations use visual cues, both at long (picking out light-coloured structures that are distinct from their surroundings) and short (picking out pre-existing aggregations to join) distances, while nonvolatile long-chain hydrocarbons laid down by previous aggregations also play a significant role in site selection. Both visual and hydrocarbon cues are more important than volatile pheromones.

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Harlequin pupa

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