Life as a falconer, insect systematist, and double Masters Student (or a look into the mind of someone who is questionably sane).

29 August 2006

Another sesaon in the books. It went ok although it was definatly more frustrating at points then the last 2 seasons have been. Guess its expected though since fieldwork isnt all beer and skittles as Dr. Petterson would say (although he was describing passing the Lacey Act at the time). But all in all it was a good time as always. Finished up the season in style with a final ft davis trip on wensday to pull malaise traps and see all my friends in the area. Even got a free coke from jimmy the mechanic. Wensday night went out to DQ with Clay and a bunch of people from tpwd including Misty, a biologist working near kent. Nice to finally get to meet her. It was also nice to survive the evening shift since as I was running around trying to hit this bunny with a knife I ended up chasing it into this bush. I looked down and saw a snake shed. It looked kinda like a rattlesnake shed but I couldnt be sure. So of coure I took another step towards it into the bush. This set off the rattlesnake which was about a foot away from my foot. I jumped abotu 5 ft out of the bush and decided I had done enough rabbit hunting for the day. Typical it would happen 2 nights before I leave, happens every year. My 1st year I was running roads with Ryan and Lauren and came across a pissed off Mojavie (so of coures we had to take pictues of it). Then last year I had just gotten my pellet gun and Paul, a Baeza attendant, and I wer out shooting bunnies. After wandering around the rocky area for a while Paul commented on the lack of rattlesnakes. I took another step and sure enough the rattling began right at my feet. Thanks Paul. Thursday during the break we met up with Paul, Lauren, John, and Chrissy for lunch at Ms. Tonys for a late birthday/end of seaons lunch. Gotta do the thursday buffet at least once a season. After this we moved the freezer to Hazels room and then Lauren and I looked at bird pictures for the rest of break. Evening shift was uneventful excpet for my 7th flat tire which occured right at the gate, good times. Friday was spent fixing the tire then finally hitting the road for AZ. Stopped in Crucsis on the way to pick up wine and eat lunch. The plan had been to stop in El Paso, but we apparently made a wrong turn and when we noticed the area getting a bit shady then the signs that said boarder 1 block we decided to head back north and to not risk another near boarder crossing just stay on the highway until Crucsis. As an added bonus being in NM ment I could eat Blakies. I even called the rest of the family to rub it in. When we got in we took the mews tours and after looking at the gos and the aplo headed towards the tribred. Harry mentioned something about having feathers to imp in, and so I figured he was talking about us imping the feathers while we were around. So I asked him if we would be imping and he said itd be up to me. I was a bit confused and he said I had no clue what he was saying but id figure it out in a minute. So we all went out to the back mews and in with the tribred. After looking at him for a bit Harry asked what I though of him. I figured it was a nice looking bird and he said it was mine if I wanted him since he knew I was looking for a small bird hawk. As Harry was feeding the horses I asked how much he wanted for the bird and he said I could have him for a nickle. He then told me about his grandfather buying him a motercycle when he was 16 and a car when he was 18 and that when he was a kid in the depression his allowance was a nickel, which he and his friend would use to buy a candy bar once a week. Then we fed the quail and the pigeons. Back to the house for our dinner time. First home cooked meal in who knows how long while discussing falconry, dogs, and all the normal topics. I slept in my normal room near the garrage, funny thing is I've spent more nights in that room than I have in my room in allen in probabily 7 years since I've been sleeping on the floor in the living room with my dogs since I was a sophmore in highschoool, and before that it was the floor somewhere in the house. I've actually started to think of that back room as mine when I visit. 515 came way too early, but since AZ doesn't switch their clocks it felt more like 715. We stood around until Paul, a possibile apprentice, got to the house, then we loaded up the Aplo and the Gos along with the pointer, Mozart and the Fiest, Schebert, and took off to the field. The Gos went first and in typical gos fashion decided it didnt like having other people in the field and flew across the field and into a low spot prompting a telemetry hunt. Once Harry retrived him it was time for the Aplo. The Aplo was a bit unsure of more people in the field also, but figured it out after a bit and caught a few insects. After a while Harry tossed it a sparrow which it caught pretty easily. We then backed off to see if she would cashe, but she ate a chunk of it then carried it back to the suv and ate the rest there before flying over to Harry. Once we got back to the house it was feeding time. Harry took care of the Aplo and the Gos then we went into the tribred's mews. I weighted the bird then put him back on a perch and got the food ready. Harry, Paul, and Lauren left and I took the bird back up. He ate a bite then realized I didnt have a good grip on the meat and took off with it. Knew I should have asked for a smaller glove. He carried it off and started screaming at me, so I sat for a bit then when it was apparent the bird wasn't going to do anything other than mantle and scream I left and we ate our breakfast, then talked birds most of the afternoon. I went and got the tribred and had it on the fist for quite a while. He did well, only baited once and it was when I was attempting to hood him. He screamed for a while, but started to quiet down after a while. Me, Harry, and Lauren switched off so I could make phone calls trying to figure out the tx regs on health certificates. Paul left after a while, so it was just the 3 of us talking birds as usual. The bird started getting a bit ansy so I put him back up and called it a day. We went to a Fish and Game guys house for a bbq, so that was nice. Tried Scotch, yeah its definatly an aquired taste I havn't quite aquired yet. Next day we went back out hawking although we only took the Aplo with us this time. She did better with having more people in the field and had some nice bird flights. She caught her sparrow and cashed it, but we couldn't find it so sent the dog in. Schebert found it and tried to eat it, I grabed it out of her mouth but had it in sight of the Aplo who flew over, grabbed it and ate it. Once she was done back to the house where I bagged the tribred on a sparrow in the mews then ate breakfast. After breakfast I fed my bird a bunch of pigeon (up to 328g, very high for the bird) without him trying to carry or doing much screaming. His manners weren't too bad and he didn't mantle much on the fist. Loaded up and hauled it back to Valentine. Lunch was the care package Beth packed up for us before we left, definatly handy. Gave Hazel a quick stick shift driving lesson then off to bcs. Drive was uneventful except for the rain and made it back around 330 AM. Good times

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