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  • Writer's pictureCrone

Mouflon... and Leila!

It's no secret that I am a fan of coppicing and as I'd like to do more of it, I made a trip to Barford to meet the Reserve Officer Daisy and find out what I can do.

We checked out the hazel and Daisy showed me where I should work. She said she'd provide some good sharp tools and I could just head on up there whenever I have the time and inclination.

Then she asked me to check out the sheep with her because I'd find a friend amongs the flock - Leila the sheep I have sponsored!

She was babysitting some young Mouflon sheep. The Mouflon are thought to be the ancestral breed of all domesticated sheep. They look rather like deer! And their behaviour - according to this account from the place where these were bred - aligns closely with what George Schaller and Peter Mathieson saw of the blue sheep in the Himalayas. Blue sheep seem to be an ancient species closely related to both sheep and goats.

The Trust have brought in these sheep because they browse rather than graze and might help to prevent scrub growing into the meadows. But they are also very clever, rather wary of people and able to jump like deer, so keeping them in one place might prove tricky.

While I was there, I told Daisy about the mysterious creature I had seen at this site in the spring. A cross between a squirrel and a rabbit. She knew exactly what I was talking about and told me that the animal is a tailless squirrel! She has seen him or her and like me thought that he or she looked very chubby.

I mentioned that one of the garden squirrels has a lame paw. Daisy said they often have injured paws as they get their dexterous little digits trapped.

This squirrel was eating very close to me today. For a very long time. There were three other squirrels in the garden and whenever one of them ran up, she scurried up the trellis. I wondered if the hurt paw made her wary of her fellows as she would be less able to defend herself. I also figured she was willing to be close to me because on the whole the other squirrels would not hang around so near to a person. Being a human shield isn't a bad thing.

Though the other squirrels don't favour me with quite such proximity, all seem to find me rather familiar and don't flee straight away.

While one was in the lilac tree above me, I considered the squirrel as a teacher being. And felt three lessons from the squirrel:

  1. Defiance

  2. Height without flight

  3. Dancing with dexterity through multiple dimensions

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3 commentaires

15 nov. 2023

Is Leila one of the white ones? (probably the white one getting petted) Are the brown and black ones all Mouflons? What's around the necks of the smaller ones? So the rams have those big curved horns. Interesting links and videos. So the Mouflons can be found wild in Europe now. Cool. Maybe these Trust sheep will escape and get established in the wild too ...

Yes squirrel paws are like hands (except no thumbs). Interesting behaviour - the one with who seemed a bit lame. Glad you have a chance to do coppicing and help keep the craft alive. I like your squirrel "lessons". esp. #3! I like their high energy and alertness and knowingness [word?] in the ways…

15 nov. 2023
En réponse à

Thanks 🐑🐐

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