Arnside and beyond

By gladders

Coy

Only a little calf a few days old would think he could hide behind his own bottom (discreetly cropped in this photo), while peeping at the strange biped with the pied wolf. He needed his thick fur this frosty morning, and his spikey coat shows that Mum has been grooming him. He has blue eyes, something I don't recall in last year's calves, but maybe they will brown as he matures.

I was discussing with a colleague how rare it is to see a new born calf in an open field. Modern breeds are born in warm, sheltered sheds because of their thin skins and coats. We don't see them until they are a few months old, by which time they are much bigger than the little highlands of the same age. Last year's young ones are much smaller than their parents, and were still suckling occasionally until a month or so ago.

I need to be a bit cautious when photographing this little fellow. Mum is quite tolerant of men and well-behaved dogs, but having seen her head-butt one of last year's youngsters who got too close today, I shall be keeping the long lens on and a respectful distance.

This evening, I did what I have talked about doing for a long time. When most sensible people were at home having their evening meal, I took an old carrier bag up to the field and filled it full of highland poo. It is so remarkably dense and heavy, that I had to summon reinforcements to give me a lift home from the entrance to the wood. It's safely in the compost bin now, and we shall see what the worms make of it.

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