Tuesday, December 11, 2012

High Five

High Five, or four in this case.  Also the 4th duck caught

Great day to fly a falcon.  About 14 degrees and a baby blue sky with ducks on the pond.  Osprey took her sweet time leaving the glove this morning, but when she did, she went.  I watched her run out to the north in my binoculars and saw her begin her turn back.  I took my eyes off of her and headed down below the dam to get ready for the flush.  With my eyes on the sky I waited for her to come over in position.  She is not much for ringing.  Usually a long run out and then she comes back high.  I waited and waited but couldn't see her.  After about 6 or 7 minutes I decided that she had probably flown off to check out something else in the world.  I pulled out my receiver and clicked it on.  The signal was banging on near!  So back to the binoculars, and sure enough there she was dead over head and just barely visible to the naked eye.  Awesome!  "This is the pitch I've been waiting for."  

I flushed the ducks and.... nothing.  She wasn't stooping.  Several seconds went by before she finally committed. Almost a 90 degree stoop down and WHAP!  Only she didn't hit it solid.  It looked like she just clipped the outside of the wing.  The duck wobbled but didn't go down.  Osprey righted herself and began her pursuit.  The duck headed to the nearest stand of trees and the falcon when right in after her.  I heard a crash and bells, so I hurried my way on over.

Where's the falcon in this picture?

I had to use my receiver again but quickly found her in a dry creek bottom under a branch.  After a non-graceful trade off, she contently ate on the lure, and I got a chance to look over the Gadwall.  What I thought was a missed meaningful hit on the stoop, was actually a deep gash in the breast of the duck.  The duck probably tried to dodge to the side and the falcon got just enough foot on it to do the job.  That probably explains why the duck flew into the trees instead of around or over them.  

I've got to do a talk for the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission tomorrow so Osprey will get a well deserved day off.

She began her rest before we even left the field.

I also flew the Merlin free for the first time today too.  It went off without a hitch.  A great day on the prairie....


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