By Popular Request: More Lambs

A year ago I posted some photos of cute lambs; there have been demands for more this year.  So click here to see Spring 2014 on the Distant Drumlin, or read on to see the lambs of 2015.

We start with a ewe and two lambs, in a field in County Down, Northern Ireland.

Ewe and 2 lambs

Then one lamb walked away and left home.

Ewe and lamb

The runaway lamb found its own food.

Lamb feeding from tub

Then it fell into bad company.

Three lambs

Lamb faces

And became part of a gang terrorizing the field.

Gambolling lambs

Who knew that lambs could look scary?

My Feeble Contribution to the Big Garden Birdwatch

So, do you want to know the results of my Big Garden Birdwatch?  (New readers click here or here for explanations of BGB).

In my one hour of birdwatching, I recorded 12 birds.  I identified one Robin, one Woodpigeon, one Blackbird, one Jackdaw, Two Blue Tits, Four Coal Tits and One Great Tit (at the feeder in this photo).

Birds great titSome humans don’t like taking part in a government census.  Maybe it’s the same with birds.  Around the farm during the course of the day,  I saw a hawk on a telegraph pole, ten woodpigeons in one tree, and seven magpies in a field; none of them came near the garden for the BGB.

And I can’t even blame the cat, because Bono was asleep in the kitchen.  Smart move, with the temperature sitting at 2ºC .  So there was no chance of a repeat of this scene from Monday.

Bono climbing tree 3

If anyone else took part in the Big Garden Birdwatch, I would love to know what you saw.  I hope you had a warmer day, with more co-operative birds.










Seals in Kaikoura

Today’s photos were taken as far from the drumlin as you can get.  Australia’s kangaroos and koalas weren’t our final goals.  My husband and I actually spent most of our holiday in New Zealand.  It was the kind of trip where you see something new every day.  From a long list of spectacular sights, I’ve picked three highlights for the blog, starting with Kaikoura, on the east coast of the South Island.

Kaikoura coastline
The Kaikoura range – more impressive than Irish drumlins?

We may be the only tourists who failed to see a single whale in Kaikoura.  But we made up for that with sightings of dusky dolphins, Hector’s dolphins and New Zealand fur seals.

seal with whiskers

The Pacific coast in and around Kaikoura is home to many seals, easily spotted when they are lying on the rocks.  The pups in the next photo were a lot more active and bouncy than the adults.

4 seals on rocks

If anyone asks you “Do seals have tongues?” or “Do seals have ears?”, send them to this blog to prove that the answer is YES, at least for the Kaikoura fur seals.   Here is proof of the tongue.

Seal with tongue out

I can also tell you that we spent a happy hour watching seal pups play in a freshwater pool below a waterfall – no photos for the blog unfortunately.

If you ever make it to Kaikoura, I have a great recommendation for accommodation – just follow this link to find out more about The Factory.


The Koala and the Brolga

This is my second post from Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, near Canberra.

We would have been happy just seeing the kangaroos from my first post, but our next encounter was with an Australian crane in the rain in the Sanctuary Enclosure.  This large, beautiful bird is known as a brolga (grus rubicunda).

Brolga in the rain

Also in the enclosed area were some koalas.  Koalas can be sleepy animals, comfortably cuddling trees, but we were lucky enough to see this one on the move.

Koala climbing swinging

Their bodies seem much longer when they are climbing, until they reach the top and squash back down again.

Kangaroos in Tidbinbilla

I visited friends in Australia last week.  They are lovely, interesting people, whom I’ve known for 26 years, but why post photos of our reunion when I can show you these kangaroos instead?

kangaroos 4

Undoubtedly cuter than me and my friends.  Even before you see mother and baby.

Kangaroos 2

It was hard to believe that the joey could fit inside the mother’s pouch, but here is the proof.

kangaroos 3

These kangaroos were in Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, near Canberra.  Click here for more details.

The Donkeys of Good and Evil

Remember the donkeys from the blog post of 6 August 2014?  They have made themselves at home on the drumlin.  This innocent-looking brown donkey is a bit of a devil.

brown donkey

He can be as sweet as anything, taking carrots gently from my aunt’s hand.

donkey carrot

But he can bite and butt and kick the grey donkey if he thinks he is missing out on some food or attention.  The grey donkey, on the other hand, has all the hallmarks of a saint.  He is older and wiser, and bears the mark of the cross.  You can see one part of the cross on his shoulder in this photo.

grey donkey with cross

This photo from a few weeks ago (before my cousins did a fantastic job of grooming him) shows the rest of the cross on his back.  The Christian legend is that God gave the mark to all donkeys to recognise the part that the donkey played in the life of Jesus Christ, carrying Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday prior to his crucifixion.

donkey with cross at trough

It’s much harder to see a cross on the back of the brown donkey.  Maybe that’s just because of his darker hair….or maybe it’s his devilish character!

New Arrivals on the Drumlin

When my father retired from farming, he couldn’t quite kick the habit of looking after animals.  So last month he brought two donkeys home to the drumlin.

Donkeys at trough

The small brown one looks sweet and innocent…..


….but he started this fight.

fighting donkeys

I’m sure they have donkey-reasons for fighting, but I think that particular fight was a way of competing for human attention and the apples and carrots in my pockets.  Soon they were friends again.

Resting donkeys
This photo was featured in the local paper – see page 16 of the Belfast Telegraph on 13 August 2014.

Anyway, the donkeys are keeping us all entertained.

donkey whiskers


Who Ate all the Grass on the Drumlin?

My father has been farming in County Down for many years, and is thinking of retiring soon, so it’s time for the blog to celebrate my family’s long-standing love of cows.

bullock with grass in mouth

It’s so much easier to photograph animals when they are not nervous of you.  I’ve struggled to get any decent photos of birds recently – they all seem to fly away at the merest hint of my presence.  But these calves were all around me, thinking that I was bringing food.

bullock with tongue out

It’s great to find subjects who will pose for the camera, even if they don’t present their best angle.

bullock chin

 Thank you Dad for making such a success of the family farm!