Thursday, November 14, 2013

Surprise Ending

Ooops . . . my audience saw this post before I could type up any text. I was a bit tuckered last night after posting pictures, so didn't get to the text portion right away. Here goes that explanation now.

Rich and I got out hawking on Thursday as we are going into our work weekend, and this will be a 4-day stint for me. So best to fly the birds, as they will be twiddling their talons for the next few days. Soon, very soon I want to attempt to fly both Harris Hawks together, and see how they do with that. I chose a place that I thought might work, but when we got there I felt just a little uneasy for some unknown reason, so listened to my gut instinct, and went with flying them separate. Sassy went first, and frankly I didn't have high hopes as she is way over weight, which I thought for an initial cast flight with Wasp might not be such a bad idea, for then she would not be too sharp. (Side Note to any wannabe falconers out there . . . some HHs can be flown overweight. This is not advised with most birds, as they could fly off, or ignore you. Sassy is quite game even when fat, she just usually doesn't try real hard when not sharp.)

The location is along a railroad outside of my little town. Usually, when there is snow, we see all kinds of rabbit activity, but today I think all the bunnies were down their holes. There is thick brush along this track, which would be great for a little hawking dog . . . dang that Sassy and Monty hate each other. Some day I'm just going to need to risk/try that as well, and see what happens. I think the dog needs some more training. Actually, no 'think' there . . . I'm certain he needs more training!

Anyway, we worked the brush down along the track without much of any prospects. A single rabbit was kicked out, but elluded Sassy through that thick brush. It was somewhat of a dreary afternoon, and had begun to drizzle. I forgot my hat, so proceeded to get wet on my head. With the dismal prospects of success I was just about to call it quits for her and head someplace else, to fly Wasp, or even home if the drizzle kept up. I looked ahead in the trees and saw a break in the cover, and appointed that as my end goal. There we would cross over and walk back. The other side of the track is not nearly so good for bunnies. The end of the track had a thick cover, and I thought it possible we could still bust a bunny that had been pushed down the row. As we came to the end, Sassy burst into action, but not towards the ground. Instead, it was up in the trees after a squirrel. I never even saw the squirrel. She hit it, snagged it, and proceeded to hang up the tree for about 10 mintues. She must have grabbed it with both feet around a branch. This allowed for plenty of time for Rich to take pictures. Squirrel was calling. Sassy was growling at it from time to time. I hoped she wasn't being bitten, as it was up the tree a fair distance, and I don't climb trees!

Eventually, she repositioned her feet, and came down. I moved in to secure her prize, and check her out for any bites. Her feet were covered in blood, but it did not appear to be hers. Good! It was a smallish squirrel, but the first of the season. This puts us at 5 head of game. Three rabbits, one squirrel, and one substantial miscellaneous, which will just go unmentioned here. It was a surprise ending, as I hadn't even seen any squirrels, and wasn't expecting action from that direction.

Here above I'm also gesturing with my safety glasses. I took a big chunk of brush and leaves in the face earlier in the season, and ended up needing to go to the opthalmologist's office to examine my eye. I had managed to get some plant matter imbedded on the underside of my eyelid, which was scraping my eye. Ouch! So . . . when hawking, wear sunglasses, and if it is gloomy, clear safety glasses.

Later in the evening I washed Sassy's feet thoroughly, and checked her over. No wounds!

First squirrel of the season!

We worked our way back to the car and relocated to fly Wasp. There is a brushy area in our little town next to the county fair grounds. We gave that a try. Wasp followed pretty good, but did get kicked around a bit by the wind. He hit a couple fences kinda hard too because of the wind. At some point he did find a mouse in the grass, so we are up to three mice for him. I was also encouraged to see his reaction to the first open ground bunny flush. He went after it, and with some steam. Unfortunately, bunny made it to cover just in front of him, and he hit that cover rather hard. I didn't have time to check on him this morning prior to leaving for work . . . hopefully he's fine with all the bumps he took on Thursday. He seemed fine last night.

At the end of the day, with them both cropped up, and feet cleaned and inspected, I perched them on their 'getting to know you' perch. After awhile, I lifted Sassy, untied her, and set her down next to Wasp. They just stood there, no aggression, and Wasp proceeded to tuck his leg. OK, they seem to be getting comfortable with each other. Soon I'll have to try flying them as a cast.

No comments:

Post a Comment