Tag Archives: sheep

Invaders!

Well not really, but I was trying to link three very different photos for today’s blog. The first ‘invader’ was a surprise sighting yesterday of a Soviet warplane (World War II vintage) flying near Falmer. It’s a Yakovlev Yak-3 fighter, i.d. number D-FLAK and dates back to 1944. I know very little about these planes, but by all accounts they were sensational fighters and as influential as the Spitfire. More here.

Yakovlev Yak-3 D-FLAK at Falmer, East Sussex

Yakovlev Yak-3 D-FLAK at Falmer, East Sussex

Now the next subject might not generally be thought of as an invader, and to be fair there have been sheep in England for several thousand years. But they are not true natives, with some suggestion of neolithic farmers introducing sheep, and a much greater influence being played by the Romans who effectively established sheep farming in Britain. I took these two shots at Seven Sisters. A fine looking animal.

Sheep at Seven Sisters, East Sussex

Sheep at Seven Sisters, East Sussex

Sheep at Seven Sisters, East Sussex

Sheep at Seven Sisters, East Sussex

The final invader is a true invasive species. It’s the terrapin and my excuse for another photo of them is that this one shows three of them together at the edge of Falmer Pond. The shot was taken through undergrowth. Any attempt to get closer would have (and in fact, did) result in two of them sliding into the water for safety.

Three terrapins at Falmer Pond, East Sussex

Three terrapins at Falmer Pond, East Sussex

Camera note: all photos taken with the Canon 7D Mark II and EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM lens.

Stonechat Special

We had some steady wintry sunshine today. All day. It was cold, but certainly a very welcome change, and I headed over to Sheepcote Valley which is where I generally go in search of kestrels. There weren’t any around today, but the scrub clearers were back. Yes, the sheep at Sheepcote are ‘workers’. They get brought in every few months to eat back the undergrowth, and then are moved on to another site.

Sheep

It was while I was sheep watching that I spotted several little stonechats. These are small meadow birds, with a distinctive call (which gives them their name). They like to perch on low shrubs, and a prone to offer little wing flicks.

Stonechat

Stonechat flitting out a wing

Stonechat

Let’s give both wings a go!

The merest hint of a branch was sufficient for this male stonechat on lookout duty.

Male stonechat on lookout.

And what goes up a perch, must come down. I have to say I was quite pleased with this little sequence, not least because I had deliberately left room for the flight when I lined up the first shot. The stonechat helped things by staying in the same plane as it dove down.

Stonechat flying down from its perch

Stonechat flying down from its perch

Stonechat flying down from its perch

Stonechat flying down from its perch

Camera note: all photos taken with the Canon 7D Mark II and EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens.

Mean Sheep of Falmer

I’ve been mulling over what to post tonight and in the end have opted to keep it tightly focused on this small group of horned sheep that I stumbled across while out near local woodland. I could hear them before I could see them (cracking branches and so on), and it took me a while to work out what was causing the noise. I eventually found my way to where they were, and I have to say they presented a magnificently mean image.

Horned sheep

Horned sheep

Horned sheep

Horned sheep

Horned sheep

A makeshift fence had been erected to keep them penned in at one end of the area, so presumably they were being grazed in the wood by a local farmer. Whatever the reason for their appearance there, they looked great against that background, and certainly take the prize for the meanest looking sheep I’ve ever come across. And boy could they stare!

Camera note: all photos taken with the Canon 7D and EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L USM IS lens.