Thursday, December 15, 2011

Death among the Dead

Work responsibilities brought me to Winona today for a few hours, to do my special "job".  All employees have additional duties that have to be done monthly/quarterly . . . mine is doing regular maintenance on our crash carts, used for patient resuscitation.  Today was one of those days when it needed major bi-yearly maintenance, so required some additional time while not doing regular job duties.  I was going to meet up with Justin afterwards to fly birds, but it took me longer than anticipated.  I called and told him to just go ahead without me.  Once I was done, we went looking for a place to fly the birdies.
Our stretch of mild weather ended.  Today was cold and windy.  I was wanting to find someplace that was sheltered a bit from the wind.  I knew of a place to explore.  One of the oldest and largest cemeteries in Winona rolls back into the bluffs.  Rich and I had been there last summer looking for the oldest known revolutionary war veteran's grave, which we found.  It is a stately old cemetery, with very mature trees, and lots of quiet, secluded back areas.  We entered and drove all the way back, finally ending at a compost spot tucked away. Upon releasing Hit Girl, we also discovered there are lots of trails all up the hillside.
Hit Girl flew strong and bold.  She doesn't keep up with us, per se, as she should, however she doesn't fly off too far, and allows us to catch up with her.  It took awhile to find anything moving.  It was very cold, and the squirrels were hiding in their warm nests.  However, it was deathly still in this protected valley, and I could hear the occasional alarm call.  The tree rats were there, just laying low.  We continued to walk the paths and follow her.  It was rather a very nice walk, even if it was very cold and dreary weather wise.  After about a half hour of walking, we finally bumped a squirrel, then two, then three . . . a hot spot.  Hit Girl engaged.  The first squirrel she chased with gusto made a break to the top of the tree, then jumped over to another where there was a nest.  It missed in it's leap, and came crashing down to the ground.  Hit Girl was in hot pursuit, but the squirrel had a bounce and leap ahead of her and got back onto the tree and back up to safety.  However, the action in the tree got her attention there.  At the very top was a leaf nest.  When she made a go again, two other squirrels popped out.  She managed to twist down the tree after one of them, and came to ground with #6 for the bag.
Rich and I both work tomorrow, and then we'll be going to Illinois to visit my sister, so this is the last chance the birds have to fly for a few days.  I cropped Hit Girl up on her prize, letting her have more than usual, then hooded her and returned to the car.  This lead through some of the older parts of the cemetery . . . 1880s were the dates on many of the graves.  We got Sassy out, not to hunt, but just to stretch her wings some.  It was getting late, and really was too cold for her to be out too long, but I did want her to gets some exercise.  After a little walk around, calling her from time to time for a big hunk of food from my glove, we returned to the car and headed for home.

I was much impressed with this new site, and will probably return from time to time, and share the location with Justin.  Most of the walking was in the forest and trails, but in my experience, many old cemeteries make very good hunting spots . . . for trained birds.

1 comment:

  1. This is Barb, from Carr Valley cheese. It was GREAT meeting you this afternoon. And I wasn't kidding about your hunting at our place. It's zoned you think I should ask about restrictions as it's so close to town?
    Another thing. I'm a photographer. I'd love LOVE to try to catch something beautiful of your birds. What do you think?