|steady cam, unsteady lamb|
Much like the proverbial buses, you wait weeks to see a new born lamb, with no sign of one, when all of a sudden, dozens turn up all at once! Over the last few days lambs have started to appear, and now they are arriving by the sheep-load.
According to this handy table, the ram must have been pretty busy through the early days of last November...although the rate they're dropping today, surely it must have been more than one ram?! If not, then he's a mighty impressive beast! Whilst we were down the lane this afternoon for 20 minutes or so, there were several new lambs born in the field.
This one was still lying down, probably less than an hour old. As I leaned on an old gate, trying to stay steady enough to get a sharp photo across the field, he struggled up onto his feet for the first time! He only managed to stay standing for a few seconds, but I caught this lovely photo, as his mum grazed alongside him. She clearly feels the need to both replenish her energy reserves, and fuel the milk supply that will sustain him for the next few weeks.
Domestic sheep are something of a "fake" species, in the sense that they've been bred to man's purpose for so long that they barely resemble any original, wild stock. Much like dogs, their natural environment is the one man creates and dictates for them.
But still, in the same way that dogs have retained a few wolf characteristics, modern sheep reflect their genetic ancestry as a successful prey species. Here you can see how incredibly well developed this baby sheep's legs are...they look as though they're weeks or months ahead of the rest of the lamb's body.
In herding prey species like sheep, horses and the like, the ability to stand up very soon after birth is an important survival trait. Critically, it enables the new born to keep up with the naturally roaming herd, and so find safety in numbers...the sooner he can run, the higher the odds that he will escape predation....and if he can escape predation for long enough to reach maturity, he will have the chance to pass his genes on to the next generation of early walkers.
And so the wheel of life turns, seemingly endlessly...
So far it's been endless, in any case...let's hope human selfishness and greed don't suck too much life out of the planet...
We are the ongoing output of a 3.5 billion year experiment to see what happens to a simple spark of life, given enough time, and an environment abundant in a range of chemicals, climates and environs within which it can flourish.
As the bleeding edge of this experiment, Homo sapiens has become a very destructive force. As technology has allowed us to expand, we too often expand prematurely, and without due thought or consideration of our impact on the environment we're expanding into.
Yet still, we don't stop to think...we just keep relentlessly pushing onwards in short-termist pursuit of wealth, until all major natural global systems are critically out of balance.
As they are now.
Nature eventually finds a way to correct such imbalances - it's simply a matter of physics...
|get up, stand up|
Let's find a way to restore balance ourselves, before Gaia, on behalf of Mother Nature, restores it for us.