Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Cautiously Optimistic...

That's how I would describe how I feel considering the weather we've had and that the due date for personal income taxes is already upon us. The weather was relatively mild. No prolonged periods of snow cover, no ice storms. The rains have been consistent enough to keep the ground moist and not so much to worry about flash flooding. To borrow a term from a favorite childhood story, "just right." At least so far.

This weekend, Sunday rains meant children were doing the Easter egg hunt a day early. The family chef was grocery shopping for the upcoming feast. I, on the other had, was blessed enough to sleep in and be treated to breakfast. As if that wasn’t enough, I was also allowed to run dogs on the best piece of bird cover I’ve seen east of Russell.

For some added fun I loaded the farm lab, Riley, in the truck with my two setters. We started walking down the edge of a pasture and all Riley wanted to do was chase and play with my setters. She’s still carrying a little holiday weight so that didn’t last long. The pasture produced a wild flushing prairie chicken, and at the bottom we turned to follow a thick draw splitting a wheat stubble field. Ike, as he does sprinted ahead following the edge, and it wasn’t long before I hear the familiar beep of the Astro that told me he was on point far ahead. When we got there Sage honored and Riley, who’s never really been “hunting” before approached Ike and started to lick his face. Then two roosters blew from the thicket just ahead of him. Hilarious. There were a couple more recurrences like this as we found quite a few pheasants and another prairie chicken.

Here's Ike on pheasant find number two, with Riley ready to lick the face again.

On the drive out I saw a Harris hawk messing around on the side of the road. As I approached he flew off and I saw this rooster who was managing to keep the fallen tree limb between himself and the hawk.

On Easter morning we repeated the drill before the April showers came, this time without Riley. The results were nearly the same, except we found two coveys of quail. I was worried after the first day didn’t produce any.

Ike on covey number one. Both coveys were 8 or 10 birds, good shape for breeding.

I feel bad I didn't get any good pictures of Sage. I kept trying to get good video of birds flushing but it just wasn't in the cards. Anyway, we timed it so that we were getting to the truck just as it started to sprinkle. I really like that piece of ground.