When last we left our intrepid bird finder, Pride the Wonder Dog, she was lolling about in the easy chair that used to belong to my wife, the lovely Joanne. So I sez’ to her, “Pride, why don’t you get off your keyster and we’ll go off and find some more of those “chuckles” guys–chukar to the rest of you–and I will shoot and you will retrieve.?” The deal was struck and yesterday we had a grand time!
Surrounded by snow covered mountains, Yes, Virginia, this is southern California, we set out.
A front had gone through on Sunday leaving new snow in the higher altitudes, cold, breezy weather in the valleys.
On “chuckle” the second I was able to one-hand shoot these pictures with my new Canon A590is camera–a wonderful little tool with a big LCD screen, SDHC card and great zoom, macro and video featurs, plus more I haven’t learned about yet!
Pointing into a 15 mph, cold wind. She picked up the
scent a good 30 yards from the bird.
She did her part and I did mine. One shot with the AyA XXV 12 bore and a nice retrieve.
Astute observers will note this “chuckle” is far from
dispatched. Oh well, it was windy! Enough #7 to get him
on the ground anyway.
The morning unfolded with two surprises. A couple of pheasants that were left over from shooters on the weekend surprised us as I was strolling back to the car later. Pride was sprinting downwind and as she turned back she must have caught the scent. She skidded to a point but the birds were too close. One flushed wild and I had no shot. I watched its flight thinking we could go after him later.
Never suspecting there was a second bird there, I was totally flat-footed when it flew. I threw a wild shoot through an old, dead juniper and caught nothing but dry limbs. It flew off it into the river bottom and I lost sight of it. Moral of this episode? Be alert, always, especially on the Monday after a busy weekend at the club. A few months previously I had been there on a Monday and got two bonus chukar–you don’t pay for those that someone else left behind.
We tried to find the pheasants later but there was no sign of them. I also lost the last chukar I put out. It spiraled up from Pride’s point almost like a woodcock and I foolishly let it figure out which way to go–of course that was downwind like a rocket! I was behind all the way but did pull feathers. We hunted after the bird on its line of flight. She found it crippled, on the edge of a thick juniper stand. I moved to the bird about the time Pride broke point and in the flurry the chukar dove into the tangle of limbs, roots and gopher holes. Never saw him again. Drat.(The lovely Joanne noted sagely that evening: “It’s hunting, not going to the market.” Hmm. May be something in that.)
The last little treat was a cooperative between dog, gun and new camera. This is an experiment for me here. A snippet of video with a retrieve. If the sound comes through you’ll hear me coaxing her in with the bird–she really doesn’t need much but it calms my nerves! You’ll also hear wind in the background. Here’ goes:
Well, that worked okay. Exciting, eh what, old chaps? I think Scolopax is affecting my mood. Powerful ‘vibes’ from the Orkneys today.
Stay tuned for more excitement in the days to come.