Thursday, February 11, 2010

big gains - small rewards

Big gains today - work was canceled due to flooding and high winds. But everything calmed down by late morning and the whole day was stretching ahead of me with no plans.

Hmmmm..... What to do.

Hawks were at weight. I hooked up with some folks that wanted to see the birds fly and the whole gaggle of us went out into the woods. There were four kids under 11 and two adults. Plenty of noise to unnerve any squirrel.

But the winds were still blowing and the squirrels were holed up pretty tight.

We wandered the woods for close to three hours.

There one quick chase, but the squirrel made it to a hole before the hawks took more than a swipe. The second chase was s doozie. Tree to tree, up and down hills, losing the squirrel, finding the squirrel. It was so high up that the whole group of us could only be limited help. The spectators backed off, sat down in the leaf litter, and watched. I ran and yelled and smacked at trees.

Finally, the squirrel snuck into a leaf nest from below and Tess slammed into it from that side. He must have tried to pop out the top because Gonzo nailed it from the top.

They both hung there, the squirrel screeching.

Silence - both birds hanging there holding the squirrel between them. Nobody was coming down. I waited, we sat, and then Gonzo started picking at the squirrel from on top. Tess was hanging upside down and couldn't seem to right himself.

I was done waiting. I got out some tidbits and started blowing the whistle. Gonzo wasn't having any of it, but Tess let go and came down.

I kept him on the fist for a bit to see what Gonzo would do. Pretty soon it became apparent that Gonzo had no desire to come down and was trying to eat that squirrel from up top. I let Tess loose to take over. She did just that.

She laddered up to the top and took control of the situation. She grabbed the squirrel, assumed dominance, then parachuted down with it. I traded both birds off it. You could see where Gonzo had tried to break into it around the eyes.

We walked for a few more hours, circling around and ending up back at the car. I was exhausted from all the up and down through the woods, and we ended the day with just one kill. Didn't matter though. It was a great day in the woods.

A free day in the woods - big gain.
One squirrel - who cares - good day.


Hubert Hubert said...

A great post with fine photographs, this. It's a real treat to get a glimpse of such an ancient and remarkable form of hunting through your blog.


Doug said...

Thanks Hubert. Things are starting to wind down here. A few more weeks and the season ends. You can see a change in the wild birds already.