But then, as they were within half a pace (credit to Albert and the 'Eadsman), there came an impassioned bleating from my right. Mother was obviously alarmed, and mothers are not known to be trusting creatures when there are strange men about (and who can blame them?) The lambs hesitated but briefly before obeying mother, and the chance was gone.
I did see a coot today, though, on the hidden pool-in-the-wood that I mentioned a couple of weeks ago. It was the first coot I’ve seen in this locality, since the nearest lake – the usual habitat of coots – is about a mile away across the river valley. So that was some little compensation (but not quite enough.)