Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Season's end

Officially, this is the last day of the hawking season, but I wrapped things up a couple of weeks ago as the weather got warm. (Not that it stayed warm...) The season ended well: instead of degenerating into a mouse hawk, as often happens this time of year, Stekoa remained focused on rabbits to the end. All we caught late in the season were bucks, no pregnant does, so no harm done to next season's population.

The last flight of the year was memorable, if not entirely visible. Stekoa took off in his "daddy was a goshawk" flight mode—he's very fast for a redtail—and disappeared, weaving into some fairly thick woods. Instead of the expected crash or squealing rabbit, though, there followed an unusual silence. When we caught up to him, he was in the creek, trying to drag his soaking wet, very dead rabbit up the steep, muddy bank. That cottontail went home on the roof rack instead of in my vest.

Below, a few "leftover" pictures from the season just past. The first two were taken by Pat Stull, the rest by me on a visit with Art Graves out in the Sandhills:

Maxine, Anya, and Stekoa

Stekoa on the fist

Jimi (gyr x peregrine hybrid)

Flint (gyr x saker hybrid)


Flint waits in the truck for a training flight to the kite

Readying the kite

Closeup of the reel

Sunrise on the grouse lek

Jimi on the wing

Jimi on a prairie-chicken

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