Previously I've mentioned that Sue has lots of squirrels at her home. Justin and Greg and I have been by several times to try our various hawks at catching them. So far, Greg has had the most success, taking two of them. Justin's bird did give very good chase a while ago, but the squirrel escaped into trees in the neighbor's yard, and Sue asked us to not pursue. This particular squirrel has captured our attention, as it has unusual color markings. I don't know how you would describe it, but it appears to be an Eastern Grey Squirrel with mottled fur. Sue has named it Nikki.
While observing and chasing this squirrel, a friendly competition has ensued between we three falconers. Each has asserted if they catch Nikki she may get taxidermied into a trophy.
Well, in an effort to try my hand at that competition, I dropped by Sue's place last weekend. Sassy was all business. Sue and I spent the better half of probably 20 minutes moving Nikki around the tree, and Sassy stood guard above, looking for an opportunity but never quite finding it. With time, Nikki made a break for it, leaping to a nearby tree, and then the next. Sassy pursued. With a bit more tree whacking Nikki made one last run in the upper branches and into a smaller tree, where she surely must not have felt safe, for she quickly bailed out onto the ground and tried to make it to safety in the surrounding woods. Now usually, a squirrel on the ground is a tough customer to catch. Sassy stooped the tree rat, and did contact, but then began to struggle to control it. I ran as fast as my short legs and the snow would allow, but just as I arrived and was about to put a hand into the fray and help Sassy out . . . . Nikki broke free and escaped into the woods.
Dang it!! I would have liked to have commissioned my first taxidermy animal. And I would have enjoyed bragging rights with the guys.
Ah well, at least Sue did see the action and is my witness that Sassy did have that prize squirrel, if only for a short time. Catching quarry is fun, but sometimes, many times, the prey gets away. This is usually what makes for fun stories.