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Came across these beasties today and was not too sure what they were

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Weather not at all conducive to cycling today with a very cold wind blowing and temps in the cloudless sky circa 5 degrees.

So we decided on a hike with the dogs to maybe spot some early marmots, and the route I chose meant we might just see some Bouquetin as well as chamois and various deer.

Was quite pleased that no other cars were there, which meant a better chance of coming across deer and the like.

It's a steep climb from 1,535m to the start of the plateau circa 1,900 between a band of cliffs and a torrent.

As we arrived by the cabin as I had been doing all the climb I was scanning around looked for wildlife, once on the plateau it was a case of rubbing my eyes as I could not quite believe what I was seeing.

In advance of going up there I'd packed my scope and my decent camera, and looking through the scope could see it was a herd of deer or bouquetin, except that I'd come across bouquetin many times before and they are the closest mountain beastie you can come across that behaves more like a domestic cow when humans are around, they can be quite indifferent to your presence and if anything you worry, especially with dogs that they might charge you.

One of two did have the antlers of bouquetin and I thought maybe they were varying mix (age) of males, but then through the scope, I spotted quite young ones and females, so this was a herd, but a herd of what, as I knew they were not chamois as the antlers were so distinct.

I bit the bullet and stoped using the scope and reached for the camera, as by then they were alert to our presence and were moving on and picking up speed, so it was very much point and shoot with the camera, hoping for the best.

Twas a glorious three or four minutes, and as they headed off a dumb marmot saw the dogs and let out a whistle alerting the dogs to where it was, so they shot off in hot pursuit and as ever the marmot evaded them.

After that saw a couple of chamois and some type of aerial beastie though not too sure what that was as it disappeared quickly before I could get the scope to hand.

Once back home pinged a mate I know who goes out and about a lot up in that neck of the woods (if you're reading this HellBells, Paul Smith) asking him what they were and he very quickly came back with "Excellent sighting. Yes, Mouflon, not hunted too much these days but still frightened, where were you".

So Mouflon, new one on me in that I've never, as far as I know, seen them, and googling would suggest that they, unlike the bouquetin are not too common a sighting.

Just up behind where we live we have boar and deer come down to our garden but it's up high at altitude where you do get to see the more interesting stuff like that, so think was quite blessed to see that many out in the open.

Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Tue 6-04-21 16:50; edited 1 time in total
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Lovely!! snowHead
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Nice, lucky you, beautiful.
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Yes, I thought Mouflon: I believe the coat colour and pattern varies by region, location, sex, season, and age, so they probably are one of those animals that are difficult to typify with a 'typical appearance'. Saw some on a walking holiday once. Just checked where and it was the Italian Alps. Would have been North of Gravedona up towards the border.
Shock horror from wiki; they're pretty widespread:
"In the introduced populations of Central Europe it is estimated that there are over 60,000 mouflon (in 2005 there were 90,000), the largest population being in the Czech Republic (17,500). "
"The population in Germany was around 15,600 animals in 2010 (c. 20,600 in 2005) living in about 120 groups."
"In Hungary there are around 10,600 and in Austria about 7,500 mouflon (no herds in Vorarlberg)."
"In the early 1980s, mouflon migrated from France to the Swiss canton of Valais, where there are now two colonies with a population of around 200 animals. The IUCN considers the European mouflon as feral populations of ancient domestic livestock, therefore doesn't provide an assessment for this species conservation status."
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Another for Mouflon. The only one I've heard of with those almost circular horns. Nice pics. Thought they were protected but apparently not. Seems odd as they are much rarer than Bouquetin round my way and the Bouquetins are protected.
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