Wednesday, December 16, 2009

2nd Snipe

Doc caught his second snipe today and I saw one of the most amazing flights I’ve seen. The weather here has been way too hot for good falconry with highs in the mid 80’s and lows around 70 and today wasn’t much different but Doc flew great.

He cast off and flew downwind and began to climb. A group of black birds caught his attention and he headed farther downwind and started circling over the flock which was now packed into thick cover. He continued climbing but stayed downwind ¼ mile.

After about 10 min of this he finally started making his way back to me and took a 300’ pitch right overhead. The dog (Duncan) and I started running around looking for snipe. We finally flushed a bird and Doc was a little downwind but he stooped hard and was in pursuit. He pulled in behind the snipe and got very close but the snipe evaded him. But he wasn’t about to give up.

Doc was 10’ behind the snipe and very determined. The snipe began to climb with Doc right on its tail. He stayed 10’ to 20’ behind it all across the sky. I watched the chase in binoculars as they climbed up to 500’ and started coming back towards me. After a good two to three minutes they were now flying right over my head 500’ up. As they passed over me the snipe began to pull away. I yelled and waved and Doc pulled off the chase. It was the most amazing snipe chase I’ve seen, I couldn’t believe how long he pressed this snipe.

Doc was now right over head 500’ up and circling for the next flush. We ran around frantically searching for another flush. A sparrow flushed and Doc made a short stoop, losing some pitch. Then another snipe flushed and Doc was locked on. Just as he was about to close the deal the snipe slammed down into a small marsh 300 yards away. He hovered over the spot but wouldn’t go in after it.

Duncan and I ran over as Doc remounted. We waded into the thigh deep water and Duncan put the snipe back up. It flew out of the marsh and Doc easily flew it down over the field, claiming his second snipe of the season.


Anonymous said...

How did the flight compare to the same sort of merlin flight?


Eric Edwards said...

I've only caught 1 snipe with a merlin and I've never seen that trained merlins would make a good snipe hawk. My 1 snipe was just being in the right place at the rigth time and everything came together, it would be hard to repeat and I have not repeated it.