Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Dang it

Elmo has been rocking it! The kite has been up every day since the last post (except for one), and we have been flying HIGH! The only day we didn't have the kite up, I just let him fly around......just like the last time, he went up just as high as he had been going to the kite, and he didn't show any indication that the climbing was going to stop anytime soon after. His behavior after the hop to the fist is back to perfect, and I we have been having a freakin blast!

but Elmo was hit by a car yesterday morning, and he died. He was the nicest, most enjoyable bird I have ever had, and I'm sure going to miss the little guy. RIP buddy.........

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Where did all the wind go?

That's pretty much been the story for the past week......I was able to get the kite off the ground for the last few days, but other than that, we have just been flying around since my last update. Surprisingly though, he has been doing remarkably well! On Saturday when I took him out, he ended up flying the highest he has ever gone (including to the kite), and was pumping like a mad man the whole time. I have still been pushing his weight up too, and unlike earlier when he acted like a tard when heavy, his behavior is actually improving as it goes up now. Who knows....maybe he isn't such a dink after all?!?!?!

The one thing I do know for a fact though, is that this kiting deal is not as easy as everyone around here makes it look........................I have spent a bit of time in kite fields over the past few years, and it's always been a really straight forward process. Put the kite up, attach the bait, send it to the heavens, bird flies up and grabs it, and then comes scooting down the line......piece of cake right? WRONG!!!!!! So Monday, I'm sending the bait on up, and the line is just flying off the real. Once I decide the quail is where it needs to be, I slow the reel down, lock it off, and head off down wind. I make it maybe 50 yards or so, when I see the quail coming on down the line...................dang it! So I go back, re-clip the bait (a LITTLE bit tighter this time), and let out more line. Lock it off, head down to the other end of the field, and away he went. He performed beautifully, and once he made it up there, latched on to the quail and started flapping toward the ground...........................................................................................and didn't go anywhere! I ran the line down as quickly as I could, and once on the ground, he didn't seem the least bit phased (big sigh of relief....). So this puts us at yesterday. Wind is whipping out of the South at around 10 mph or so, and I'm feeling greedy! Elmo is ready to rock, and the lack of wind is what's been holding us back, so today I sent that kite about twice as high as we have gone so far. I walk my happy butt down to the other end of the field, unhook him from his gear, strike the braces, and I'm about to pull the hood when.............stupid quail comes sailing down the line! Dang it.....again!!!!! I look at my watch, and I'm going to be late for work either way, so I trudge back to the kite, and clip up the quail again. I'm still greedy of course, so I put out a ton of line again, and off we went. Elmo did his job, but guess what? The darn release didn't let go again! Second day in a row, and then I had to sit there and wind up all that stupid line. It's one thing if you put that much out, and the bird flies on up there and gets all stupid strong, but when half of it's a waste, it just puts you in a bad mood! Today though, everything worked like a dream. We had a nice wind out of the southeast (8 or 9 mph), the bait released properly, and Elmo received a nice work out. Hopefully, I can start replicating today's successful bait release more consistently, and we can continue making good progress.

So that's where we stand right now. I was blessed this week by a good buddy of mine, who invited me to use one of his training fields. See, this is the deal.....most of the days with "no wind" actually do have wind......it's just really high up, and the trick is getting the kite high enough to get into it. His suggestion was to let out five hundred feet or so of line, hook it to the subi, and drive it on up..........that was a great call of course, except that I can't drive through any of my training fields. When I told him that, he offered me the use of one of his field, which was pretty freakin nice of him!!!!!!!! It got me thinking about my falconry so far, and about how much fun I have had. I have caught quite a bit of game, and when it comes down to it.....it has had absolutely nothing to do with me. I have been surrounded by some of the best falconers out there, and for some reason, they all really want me to do well [I think it's my charming personality, but my wife says everyone just feels sorry for me..:-)]. I am given the best advice, I'm set up for success in every way/shape/form, and through different hawking sessions with different people, have had the opportunity to see some really incredible falconry. When I first started out, I just thought that that caliber or hawkin was "standard." If you have had the time to look through a lot of the falconry forums/blogs/etc/etc out there right now, it is a little disheartening to realize how many falconers never reach their full potential (or get it out of their birds) simply because they don't know any better. All the falconry they have ever seen was sub standard at best, and in their minds, that's how it's supposed to be done (so to them, they are doing really well). I thank my lucky stars every single day, for the fact that I was not in that situation, and ended up where I am today. Am I a good falconer? No. Do I feel like I have at least somewhat of a grasp on what I'm doing? No. But do you know what..............at least I know that :-). So this is my shout out to all of my falconry brothers out there (you all know who you are). Thank you so much! You hawk your balls off, catch tons of game in great style, and take great care of your birds........you all have set a standard that someday, I hope to attain. Well, that's about it for now. Until next time my friends, you all be well!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Back Into The Swing Of Things

Elmo is pretty much back to his old self again. Granted, he is still a tiny bit heavy, and his behavior is indicative of such, but overall, it’s not too bad. His lure response is instant, and he trades off to the lure just fine still…….he is just doing fat bird stuff after he has finished his portion on the fist. This should be cleared up with another five gram adjustment or so, and we will still be a good ten grams or so higher, than when I went on vacation. Saturday we didn’t have any wind, so I just let him fly around for a little bit. He kept pretty close in, and just did numerous SUPER tight circles, as he climbed up above me. He was pumping strong, and I liked what I saw, so when he hit 75 feet or so, I called him down to the lure. Made him do a couple passes, and then I let him have a nice reward on the lure.

We finally had some wind on Sunday, so I sent him up to a quail hanging from the kite a hundred or so feet off the ground. He pumped straight up like he has been doing, and he had already dispatched the quail, by the time I got to him. Up until that point, we were having a hard time getting the light to come on as far as neck bites were concerned, and it had been taking him a second to get the job done. He seemed to figure it all out on Sunday though, so I’m pretty pleased about that. This morning we had wind again, so I sent him up to the kite even higher. For the first time since we started kiting, he wasn’t able to just power straight up to the kite. Instead, he had to ring up to it, and it was pretty obvious that he was working for it today! About ten yards or so below the bait, he hit a nice head wind, and he stalled out for a moment. He was pumping for all he was worth though, and he forced his way through after a few moments. Finally, we are back to making some progress, and hopefully we can get some serious height on him in the not too distant future.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Go Away Hot Weather !!!!!

Just a little update.....The first flight to the kite went pretty darn well. He left the fist immediately after the hood came off, and he hit the quail with zero hesitation. The day after that, we flew free for the first time, and he went up 50 feet or so....again, did perfect! I cropped him up nicely on that quail, and he only looked up a few times, as he grubbed down on his meal. Trade off was good too!

He was too fat to fly the next day, and we had no wind the day after that. Ended up just calling him to the lure, and I gave him another good feed. The day after that, I dropped him off at my buddy Mark's house, and I went on a Trip to Utah. My cousin got married up in the mountains, and we all had a blast! Picked up Elmo this afternoon, and he started talkin as soon as I walked in the door. I guess he was just saying what's up though, because he hasn't made a peep since then. Gonna get him back to his magic weight, and then it's back to training. There are rumors of a "cold" front coming in, so here is to hoping for some better flying temps.