As well as the stunning birdlife at WWT Steart Marshes on Saturday, I was particularly intrigued by these cattle, which one of my birding friends identified as English Longhorns.
One of the advantages for local farmers of the wetland development on the Steart peninsula is that they can now graze their cattle on saltmarsh. This gives the meat of these cattle a unique flavour that is apparently highly prized by some human carnivores, so it attracts a better price for the farmers. I thought the beast shown below was already destined for the abattoir as it looked to be dead already.
But no – turns out it was merely sleeping heavily and, after five minutes or so, raised its enormous head to blink sleepily at the passing humans. What an impressive beast it was!
The horns of these cattle were fascinating: they seemed to grow in all different directions. One animal had one horn growing upwards, the other down, and the creature shown below must surely have had its horns cut, otherwise it would have been in danger of them piercing its face.
For all their huge size, these seemed to be gentle giants. The younger animal in this photo came over and began to rub against and lick the head of the older beast – its mother?
Still, I don’t think I’d want to venture into a field with any of them any time soon.