Thursday, January 28, 2010

Weekend Hawking Clips

The birds flew good this weekend. Here's a video with some clips of Doc's flights.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Rainy Day Snipe

I woke up this morning to the sound of rain on the roof, it was 36 degrees outside, raining and windy. Under normal circumstances I would have rolled over and went back to bed. But a falconry friend, Jonathan Millican, was in town for the weekend before being shipped out with the Marines for a 6 month deployment. So, I drug myself out of bed and headed out.

I wasn’t expecting much under the conditions but as usual Doc exceeded expectations. I launched Doc in a light drizzle of cold rain and when he was only 50’ up something caught his attention downwind and he was on an obvious mission towards something. Several hundred yards out he pitched up and circled over a spot in the field. He started making his way back to us and I saw a Harrier get up from where he flew to. Not sure what that was all about but he was now ringing up and heading back.

He was half way back to us and 200’ up when he went into a stoop back in the direction of the harrier. I heard the call of Greater Yellowlegs and saw that Doc was after one flying low. The Yellowlegs headed to the ground and Doc was strafing him in the field and the Harrier was flying toward the scene. Jonathan and I were running to the spot when I saw Doc start flying back towards us and Jonathan saw a Yellowlegs flying away. I don’t know what exactly was going on but we headed back to the snipe field.

When we got back to the snipe spot Doc was back up high but slightly downwind when the first snipe flushed. Naturally, the snipe flushed straight into the stiff wind but Doc was folded up and falling fast. They were 200 yards out when Doc closed the gap and the snipe bailed into cover. Doc pitched back up and I decided not to run all the way over for the reflush. I wasn’t able to mark the spot and the odds of finding it again were slim.

Doc remounted back up to 500’ and was waiting on tight, right overhead. When the next snipe flushed I looked up and Doc was already folded up tight and dropping straight down. His tactic looked like he was falling straight down to build speed then at 100’ he leveled out towards the snipe. He was closing fast and when he was only a few feet from impact the snipe bailed with Doc right behind. The snipe jumped back up and Doc flew him down again. The snipe bailed into cover under a palm tree and Doc was right behind again. He missed it again on the ground and the two were back on the wing. The snipe went to the ground a final time and Doc claimed his meal.

Under adverse conditions, Doc again exceeded expectations and put on quite a show.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

First Double

All season Doc has been putting on quite a show and we’ve had a lot of good flights with a few great one’s mixed in. Today was one of the GREAT ones.

It was 29 degrees according to the truck thermometer when I pulled into the field. The sky was blue and there was very little wind. Doc was quick to leave the fist and quick to get up to 500’ and then on up to 1,000’.

We were hunting a depression in the field where there is a “u” shaped pond that’s only about 30’ across at its widest and it's about 50 yards long. The inside of the “u” is muddy and holds snipe. The first snipe flushed across the water and Doc put it into cover and headed in after it. He missed it on the ground and I ran around to try to reflush it. The snipe put in to a thick briar patch that I kicked around the edge but didn’t find the snipe.

I ran, with the dog, back to the muddy area as Doc went back up to 1,000’. We soon flushed another snipe that took out across the field and Doc was folded up. The snipe was over 100 yards out when he was about to crush it, and the snipe bailed into cover. By the time we got there Doc was ringing back up. I wasn’t quite sure where the snipe was, I wasn’t able to mark the spot he put it in. We kicked around a few minutes and then headed back to look for more.

When I got back to the snipe spot I looked around for Doc and couldn’t find him in the sky. I pulled my sunglasses up to see if that helped and I finally saw a small flickering of wings straight up, right over head, I don’t know how high he was but he was WAY up there.

The next snipe flushed across the muddy area and across the water and turned left along the bank. Doc came sizzling down and chased the snipe into a tall patch of grass. The snipe jumped up and Doc was right on his tail. They both flew toward us along the bank of the pond. Doc grabbed it right as it was landing in the water and they both settled down in the pond. Doc let go of the snipe and flew a few feet over to a patch of lilly pads, leaving the snipe floating in the pond. As I waded in to the snipe Doc took to the air again, pretty wet. I picked up the snipe and put it in my bag. I was waist deep and it was 29 outside.

I was very cold and could barely feel my legs but when I looked up Doc was 500’ and still climbing. So, like a good flushing monkey I started to run to the other side of the pond, back to the muddy area. On the way we flushed another snipe and Doc pounded it to the ground 100 yards out. The then fluttered down and claimed his well deserved meal. Snipe #14 and #15 for the season.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Old Man

My German Short-Haired Pointer, "Flea", will be 18 years old in June. Hard to believe how long he's been around. He's seen a lot and been all over the country with us. He gets a little cold in the winter so we bought him this very stylish hoodie.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Snipe Hunt 12-29-09

Another video of Doc chasing and catching snipe.