Sunday, 28 June 2009

Great escapes - or not? ... cows, swine, swans, owls


.... escaping to live on ... Floss, the highland cow, escaped from her farm in Yorkshire last year – shortly before she was due to be slaughtered ... and has been given a stay of execution from the abattoir. Floss was on the run for nine months covering an estimated 60 miles as she headed south into Lincolnshire.

Floss the Highland Cow - photocredit Archant - courtesy The Daily Mail

I wonder if Floss passed through Swinefleet village, which is just outside Goole on the banks of the Ouse River, as it winds down towards the Humber estuary? The name Swinefleet amused me .. but there’s very little historical information except it had a chapel, and over the last 150 years its population has decreased by 400 souls.

A small fleet, in a creek, on the salt marshes

There must have been herds of swine feeding off the marshes, along the creek, and fleets (rivulets), from the times the early populations started to settle in small villages around the large and grand houses of the nobility.

Swinefleet village

Floss survived by living off council tips and stolen hay, eventually settling – very sensibly – on a batch of land used for paintballing. Two local women raised £500 to buy Floss from her owner and sent her to an animal sanctuary ... where she’ll live out her days. Great story .. the escaping highland cow ..

Highland cattle – collectively known as a ‘fold’

Highland cattle are an ancient breed of cattle and have been exported around the world – especially to Australia and North America; they’re known as a hardy breed due to the rugged nature of the Scottish Highlands and their ability to browse on steep hill sides.

Pigs escaping - photo credit Ross Parry – courtesy The Telegraph

These swine weren’t quite so lucky ... about 180 pigs charged down the middle of a road after their lorry overturned. Sadly they were rounded up and taken off to the Bacon Factory after all .. so their bacon was not saved.

Another unfortunate creature is a pig in the zoo in Kabul, Afghanistan, who’s been put into solitary confinement because of fears that it might spread swine ‘flu; it is being kept as a curiosity in a country where pork is illegal – for now the pig is under quarantine: usually he spends his time with goats and deer.

‘Khanzir’ was given by the Chinese government, who seem to have supplied most of the animals and fish for the zoo– it appears that the zoo is a popular place for Afghanis to visit at the weekend.

Fights in the skies .. two amazing battles – one here in the north of England: when the barn owl kept catching voles and mice, but every time the Kestrel attacked it. It was during our icy winter and food must have been scarce at night – the normal hunting time for barn owls.

Kestrel and Barn Owl – taken by Damian Waters (c/o The Saturday Times)

Two kestrel obviously thought their luck was in and the poor barn owl had to drop its prey just to escape; until the kestrel, as daytime hunters, had had enough and then the owl was able to sort its own life out! Aren’t they fantastic pictures?

In another battle of the skies here’s an eagle attacking a swan – Tom Carver from Lakelse Lake, British Columbia watched in amazement as the Bald Eagle attacked the Trumpeter Swan; in the end the swan escapes, plummets to the lake, splashes up and swims away, no doubt shaking its feathers somewhat .. the eagle has no lunch!

Trumpeter Swan and Bald Eagle

The Bald Eagle is the national bird of the United States of America. It is one of the country's most recognizable symbols, and appears on most of its official seals, including the Seal of the President of the United States.

So some are fleet of foot, some are swinishly foolhardy, some are unfortunate - some are not, and some will have a happy retirement.

Dear Mr Postman – thank you for bringing us these stories .. my mother loves hearing short fun stories, especially if there’s a twist in the tale; a cousin from Vancouver Island sent us the eagle and the swan picture – and I printed them up, and we have them on the wall above the curtain pelmet.

Hilary Melton-Butcher
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16 comments:

Peter Baca said...

Hi Hilary,

Really quite fascinating post about animals! I have to admit that I was rooting for Floss...obviously Floss had an intuition that something bad was about to happen!

Animals have an intelligence that is amazing at times! Thank you for your interesting post!

Pete Baca
The Car Enthusiast Online

Tess said...

Yeah for Floss. Sorry for the pigs!I'm a vegatarian!

The photos are beautiful and we saw an eagle sitting on a nest in Northern MI last week.

Oh...the circle of life!

Giovanna Garcia said...

The Highland cow what a cute looking cow. I have never seen anything like that before. Amazing photo of the battles as well.
Hilary, you are always full of interesting stories. That is what people keep coming back.
Thanks for sharing.
Giovanna Garcia
Imperfect Action is better than No Action

Marketing Unscrambled, learn to earn 14 said...

Hilary,
What a combination of animals and birds. You fit them all into the story very nicely. Good for the ones that got away, sorry for those that missed out on lunch. Happy retirement for the cow. And us we got bacon. Nice post.
Dan and Deanna "Marketing Unscrambled"

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Pete - you're right .. she was on her way to market .. so she had the 'gumph' to get up and go .. I too am pleased she had a happy ending!

Glad you enjoyed it - Hilary Melton-Butcher
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Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Tess .. Floss looks gorgeous doesn't she? I'm just wondering if the Vikings got the idea of their helmets from this cow?

I'm not surprised you're a veggie .. having been brought up on such wonderful lands and having a small holding (is that what it's called in the States?) will have given you wonderful vegetables and fruit to eat.

I eat meat - but not an enormous amount of it .. though bacon is a taster part of it.

Eagles are amazing aren't they - I don't see them on the south coast, but when I was in South Africa .. we watched them in the mountains soaring above the farm ..

Thanks for visiting - good to see you
Hilary Melton-Butcher
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Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Gio .. the highland cow looks brilliant doesn't she? Yes - the bird battle pictures amazed me and Mum loves them ..

Glad you like the stories and visiting - good to see you
Hilary Melton-Butcher
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Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Dan and Deanna .. thanks for your comment about the mix of birds and animals .. as you say we all got lunch, except the poor pigs ..

Thanks for coming back -
Hilary Melton-Butcher
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I TAKE OFF THE MASK said...

I just love the looks of Floss! :-) Now I even remember one of my favorite bread at Breadtalk, the cheesefloss.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Jocelyn .. you got me chasing .. for Cheesefloss - but I found pork floss easier to deal with and find .. or understand. Still can't quite work it out .. but a good possible post for later .. cheese and floss???

Thanks for visiting .. Floss the cow looks pretty amazing and a lot prettier than a piece of waxy string!!

Great extra info .. that will keep me wondering!

Thanks - Hilary Melton-Butcher
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Liara Covert said...

London was almost balmy on my way through to Finland and Estonia. Thanks for sharing this insight about birds. Every soul is remembering how to fly.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Liara .. it still is! except I'm south by the sea ... I'm pleased you've arrived safely - Finland and Estonia, at this time of year with the really long days, must be wonderful. Enjoy your stay ..

All the best Hilary Melton-Butcher
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Marketing Unscrambled, learn to earn 14 said...

Hilary,
We hope that you are having a good day today. Give you mother a hug from her fans.
Dan and Deanna "Marketing Unscrambled"

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Deanna and Dan .. beautiful sunny day .. & I'm slow with my next post .. off to publish it now! Better late than never! Thanks for the thoughts .. Mum will be better later on .. I'll go up again late pm .. Janice, our Healer, will be there mid pm .. thanks for your thoughts - Hilary

Peter Baca said...

Hi Hilary,

I am truely impressed with Floss....what an intelligent beast! I have never seen any cows that look like Floss here in the U.S., but the horns resemble a Texas long horn.

Could Floss be an ancestor of the Texas long horn?

Thanks for your post!

Pete Baca
The Car Enthusiast Online

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Pete .. having just looked! they're descended from the Corrientes cattle from Spain .. so the hot world breed!

Floss .. likes the colder climates!!

Thanks for visiting and for your comments ..
All the best
Hilary Melton-Butcher