Friday, August 28, 2009

Yeah, it's beer friday!

and another week has finally gone by....only two more Fridays to go! I'm getting pretty psyched about learning to trap. I guess I'm just going to learn all the techniques in one year, b/c not only are we takin BCs, but Ryan said Alan is making him a couple kestrel dho gazza nets. Chris is all psyched about getting an RT with his ghillie suit, and Gary was tossing around the idea of doing some blind trapping. To say that this season is going to kick @$$ would be the understatment of the century!

I finally had some time to finish my "woven" jesses...still trying to figure out how i'm going to make the extender, and of course....i still have the long process of doing the leash....before I take the time to make those though, I'm going to have to get the stamp of approval from Ryan, so that i know they are safe (not sure why they wouldn't be...the only thing i could think of is that MAYBE a tallon could get caught somewhere, but i don't think there is any greater chance with these, than there is with braided equipment...we shall see).

Went flying with Gary on Wednesday, and the sharpie scored within a minute or two of entering the field. Gary and I both headed out to Owasso to hang out with Mark and to look for kestrels yesterday. We only saw four, but we only looked for about 15 or 20 minutes. Saw nice flight with the barbary, and Mark gave me the number of a guy who raises quail in flight pens. I'm gonna get some pretty soon hopefully, and then i can work Maggie on some planted birds. Weekend is about to begin, and good times shall be had. 18 more days till trapping season!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Darn sparrows

So i put the traps out yesterday, and caught nothing! This better not start being a trend. I was pulling in sparrows/starlings by the truck load a little bit ago....hopefully i just need to have them set for a day or two, so that they figure out food is available again.

Headed out for a training session with Jonathan. It was good times getting to shoot the $hit, and do a little chilling. It was hotter yesterday than it has been, and apparently the bird was a little bit over weight, so she was a little bit hesitant in her response time. Personally, I think a big part of it was my fault. The cover was pretty thick, and we were wanting to kick up some bunnies (just to see what would happen), so we let Maggie run the field. I'm pretty sure his bird was not liking Maggie being there, and sorta shut down for a little bit, until she was in the car. I'm thinkin that if I hadn't brought Maggie, and the session had been started just like any other one, she would have been much more responsive from the beginning, and wouldn't have had to "get over" the dog being out there. I could be wrong though, and it may have just been weight/weather like Jonathan said (but he has had instant response with his bird up until then, and Maggie was the "X" factor for the day....). Oh was good times either way, and Jonathan has been making leaps and bounds with this bird for sure! It's not gonna be long till it's time to break out the thick pants and the brush beating stick, and go to town! Hurry up cold weather! 20 days! (oh and by the way...before anything is said about the mews jesses on the bird, the photos were taken before they were switched to field ones....just FYI)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Whats up wit all those ladies?!?!?!

Went and cruised around yesterday after work looking for birds. Austin wasn't doing anything too important, so I convinced him to come along with me. Our goal was to see if any of the pairs were double clutching in the boxes this year (with the hopes that I was right about the box by Mark's training field). We checked three of the four boxes, and I am disappointed to say that the only things i found in the boxes, were the remnants of the previous clutchs' nests. Mark suggested that I had probably seen the recently fledged young going in and out, which sorta makes sense now that I think about it. Bummer on that, but while driving around, we did end up seeing quite a few kestrels. Most of them were pretty jumpy, and would bump down to the next post before we could get very close, but a few of them stuck tight. Unfortunately though, we only saw a few females.....we saw TONS of males, but all my big girls were out chilling somewhere other than by the road...little sluts! They need to come to papa!
I have been reading up on para chord equipment on the forums, and it seems that pretty much everything about it is positive. The only cons I really heard were that some people felt like it was too flimsy, and had a tendancy to get twisted up, eventually locking up the swivel.....Now Ryan hasn't ever mentioned this happening, and with as many birds as he has tethered with para chord, one would think he would have encountered said i'm thinking it doesn't happen often...maybe just a freak accident. Either way, I have been pondering this slight "downer" to the whole para chord setup, and have decided to make a set of completely woven jesses. I worked on the first one yesterday, and it's def a lot stiffer! It seems strong as hell, and i don't think the para chord lost any of it's integrity during the process. My thoughts so far.....not sure...they take a lot of time to make (so far), and I think for the system to be completely effective, I would have to do a woven leash too...So the question the mass amount of time spent, the sore wrists, and the "well....they are kinda cool lookin" results worth all the effort? IF para chord does have a tendancy to get tangled AND IF this woven system fixes probably still not worth it:). I think you can buy dacron for pretty darn cheap, and I think it would be easier to learn how to braid, than doing this...then you would get the stiff result you were lookin for....i will probably just stick to normal para chord stuff from now on. Still gonna finish the set though...i'm just interested now to see what the final outcome looks like. 21 days!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Good weekend!

Headed out to Bartlesville Friday after work to do a little car hawkin with Kent, and to run Maggie. Traffic was rediculous (stand still trying to get out of Tulsa, and then there is construction as you enter Bartlesville!), so I showed up a little bit late. Kent and his wife were kind enough to not catch anything till I got there though, and I was able to see a couple slips before he ended up snagging a starling. The bird is doing really well as far as being focused on the "game" at hand, and his responsiveness coming back through the window was immediate. Kent decided that he is still a bit high b/c of some "behaviors" he didn't like, and thinks dropping off another 5 or 10 grams will get him right where he needs to be. He is getting really close to turnin it on!

I tried to shoots some vids, but only came out with this "alright" one. I can't seem to get this darn filming thing down....I'm either too far zoomed out (like in this video), or else I shoot it right, but the dang thing is all shakey. Ryan shoots a lot of videos....I'm gonna have to talk to him, and see if I can gain some techniques, or new insight into how to fix this.

I went hawkin with Mark both Saturday and Sunday morning, and had good times like always. The barbary ended up connecting with some wild game on Saturday, and Sunday I got to witness 7 or 8 really nice stoops. It seems pretty apparent to me, that Mark is going to turn this bird into a very proficient hunter, and I'm looking forward to an exciting season. He wasn't interested in the homer we tossed for him though, so Mark said he still needs to bring his weight down a little bit more. When I was leaving the field on Sunday morning, I stopped by one of the Kestrel nest boxes, and Mom, dad, and four of their previously fledged young were all sitting in a row above the box. I bumped all six of them when i pulled up....two of them went off playing tag, while the other two just headed for the hills. The parents went out hunting, and I watched the female hover at about 70 feet for like two minutes, before doing a little mini stoop, grabbing a mouse. She then carried it back, and went in the nest box....i'm thinkin they (just like Mark said they do every year) are on their second clutch of the season. I ended up sitting there watching for about thirty minutes or so, as they were coming and going. Good times for sure! 22 more days!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Another week gone by....

and it's a week closer to trappin season!

Jonathan and I sat down and worked on making para chord equipment one day this week. It was good times for sure. He is catching on a lot quicker than I did, and I look forward to seeing some nice pieces from him in the near future. Ryan was kind enough to teach me his techniques, and makin gear sure helps with the pre season jitters. I would def say I am still in the learning phase, but i feel that they turned out pretty good.

I also finally made a lure this week. We had some leather paper weights (god knows why we bought company leather paper weights, but whatever) that ended up being a great size for a lure. I emptied all the beeds out of the middle (cause i don't know what they were made out of, and they could have been dangerous), and replaced them with BBs. I made it really heavy, so that it could be used for a big bird, or a small bird. I will probably end up making my padded lure sometime later this week.

I ended up making the perch for my scale too. I used velcro to attach it to the top, so that I can alternate perchs whenever I change birds.

25 more days till trapping season! The shelf perch (which Ryan expertly crafted) looks out of place on the wall, without a bird sitting on it.....if only I could figure out a way to speed up time!

Friday, August 14, 2009

It's Friday!

Which is sweet! Another weekend means another week has passed, and we are getting closer to trapping season! I don't think I would have been able to make it this far had it not been for some friends of mine, who have allowed me join them while training their young birds.

Gary has been giving me the opportunity to watch him raise his eyaas, and she is coming along very nicely right now with seven kills under her belt (could be more by now...havn't talked to him in a day or so). The speed that this little girl developed was crazy! I got to learn many different ways of setting up baggies and controlled slips, and have gotten the opportunity to see first hand what it looks like when a hawk is going really nicely and killing things with ease, yet is still way way over its "hunting weight" (to me, she seemed right on and keyed in, but Gary showed me all the tell tale signs that she was WAY fat)'s one thing to read about all the "signs", but it's neat to see them all first hand.

At the same time, I have been going out with Mark watching him kite his new barbary. This has been hella fun, and it's crazy to watch how differently accips and falcons develope. He let me come chill out on the hack hill with him from pretty early on in the birds life, and it has been cool to watch him find his wings, learn about wind and thermals, etc, etc (the picture was taken by Mark on one of his first days out at tame hack).....He has been kiting it for a while, and he is really starting to become a strong flyer. Mark thinks he should have him going on wild game pretty quickly now! Up until now, the only kiting sessions I had seen where of Ryan (I don't think I mentioned it....but my kick @$$ sponsor is Ryan VanZant, and he has been gracious enough to put up with my retarded self since early January....he plans on molding me into a pretty decent falconer...he sure has his work cut out for him!!!!!!!) and his birds, and it's neat to see how everyone has their own little "tricks of the trade" and ways of doing things....I feel really lucky that I am surround by so many gifted falconers, and can learn from some of the best.

Kent has also been getting his 1x intermewed harris hawk back up and running, and has invited me out for some car hawkin...I plan on getting out there soon. (sorry it's a $hitty picture, but it's all I had...this was the last rabbit he took last season)....He got a new chamber bird this year too, so it will be neat watching the whole process of getting them going in a cast.
So plans for the weekend? Not sure yet..... was tossing around the idea of heading to hydro to fly on Saturday, but if the funds arn't there, and I have to pass up on that opportunity, hopefully I will get out with one of these fine gentleman. Jonathan is getting the ball roling with his RT, Ryan should have his hybrid going in the next week or so, and there are only 32 more days till trappings season! It's about to be on!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

That's right...I made a blog!

And it's all about me!!!!!!!!!

Not really sure why anyone would just randomly start following this, but incase you don't know me, I'm Daniel (or Dan...which ever floats your boat)....I'm a first year apprentice falconer from T-town Oklahoma, who enjoys hawkin, dancing across rocks on my finger tips, jammin out to some groovy tunes, BEER, and pretty much any form of out door adventure activity. I'm gonna be trapping my first bird come September 15th, and I'm gonna be a brand new dad on November 23rd (or so they say...we shall see how accurate they are!). the wife's name is Lindsay (Lindz), and my Pup (GSP) is named Maggie. I work at a company called World Telemetry, and we build wireless monitoring systems for wet stock storage tanks. I do a lot of circuit board modifications, and then am also in charge of the RMA department. I can't believe I started a blog (now i guess i need to stop calling my blogger friends dusche bags huh?), but its main purpose will be as my falconry log....but other stuff will probably pop just never know where my crazy @$$ brain will take me :). Right goes nothin!
(34 days till trapping season!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)