I’m having trouble finding ducks, well, anything other than mallards. It’s just the bane of a new place and a very odd winter weather pattern. The cold came late and the ducks have been slow to come down and arriving out of order. None of this means much to me because I didn’t hunt ducks when I lived here in the later 80s early 90s. I don’t know what duck season is supposed to look like for a falconer in the delta or the valley or the grasslands in Northern California. I’ll figure it out though. It’s just going to be a slow season. I’ve flown a lot of mallards, but haven’t caught a single one.
Anakin is flying in fine style up here. It’s weird, but the air is just better. His wings just snap through the air and he climbs up at a fast and furious pace. He flies equally well in the evening and morning. I sometimes bring him to work and fly either end of the day. We just haven’t been lucky or strategic. It hasn’t all be a loss of game. I found some pen-raised pheasant and have peppered our hunts with good lessons of remounting and flying over open land. The pheasants have flown high and fast and Anakin hasn’t turned a single one down or missed his mark.Â He’s powered through them inÂ screaming stoops and the last flight he bound to the bird and rolled her. I found them with the pheasant on her back, the peregrine had her head cinched up and was safely away from feet and wings. I think he has a system now. I think if we find wild pheasant (and I see them often up here) he could catch one.
I am very much infatuated with the hybrid and still too scared or lazy or busy or something to fly her. I love her personality. Sister is going to be a good bird, even if she does want to eat Anakin. Surely I can put that aggression to use. Upland game extends until the end of February for falconers here. There is still time and I may gather my wits and guts.Â I just find myself exhausted with how much there is to learn about my job and the new landscape and the new animals in my falconry crew. The economy woes are also eating up my brain space. I am optimistic about how all of this will shake out, but all the thinking is making the days disappear into a whirlÂ of information and ideas.
The new year is going to bring a new blog skin. Operation Desert Dove will become Operation Delta Duck (www.operationdeltaduck.com) , a blog of both falconry and conservation. I’ll have a lot to say, I’m sure. I have so much to learn and hopefully that will mean much to share. Working for DU is an extraordinary turn in my life. We’re doing amazing things. I want to tell you about them. I’ll be on the ball soon, promise.