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  #831  
Old 10-01-2018, 09:08 PM
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RamishHawk RamishHawk is offline
Steve Skinner
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Default Re: Zeus- a muddled diary in pics and words!

I like my walking sticks Dave just right for old fella's, enjoyed the wright up.
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  #832  
Old 11-01-2018, 09:47 AM
Sharpster Sharpster is offline
Dave Sharpe
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Default Re: Zeus- a muddled diary in pics and words!

I bought my first walking stick, with a nice hawks head on the horn handle, when I got zeus! And used it for the first few weeks of carrying him, don't know why we don't take em out more often!
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  #833  
Old 11-01-2018, 10:39 AM
ShaneShac ShaneShac is offline
Shane
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Default Re: Zeus- a muddled diary in pics and words!

seems you had a good outing but unsure if its you or Zeus thats out of shape

the hares here always take the uphill route into the wind and a tactical approach is needed to be in the right position so the bird has a decent chance

Hope you are both lucky in the next session
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  #834  
Old 11-01-2018, 08:05 PM
Sharpster Sharpster is offline
Dave Sharpe
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Default Re: Zeus- a muddled diary in pics and words!

I agree Shane! I spend my walking routes in a tactical way! but sometimes not tactical enough, or the bird doesnt do his part! I think the hares that dont have that automatic uphill and into the wind response are the ones we remove from the gene pool!hehe

Today holding at 8lb 10oz
weather gloomy, damp and cloudy yet not as freezing cold as it has been. Wind varied from tiny breeze giving good lift to stiff breeze pushing the bird back a little.

After feeding the birds and leaving my daughter to clean mews and animals in exotics room(i pay her!) I fed the bald eagle a rat on the fist as I talked to a neighbour about his huge white mountain dog puppy, and it was good to see how calmer this young eagle has become.

Beans on toast and a cuppa and it was upto the falconry centre to go through diaries and bookings and then out onto the estate. I must say this year with the crop rotation meaning this side of the estate is covered in rape seed rather than short wheat, the hares are back in at least some numbers.

I decided to do the two fields near my van as I did a while back, quartering them thoroughly rather than trapsing merrily accross umpteen fields. These fields are mostly flat, covered in 8 inch high rape and are quite small .But first I just popped into the field that was full of hares last time! I just wanted to walk the grassy bit along the top edge only. I walked into the field and the pup ran ahead into the grass. imedietly I was taken by surprise as a hare broke out the strip onto the wheat ten yards ahead and maybe 25 yards to my right and was fast heading to the hedgerow running behind me. Despite my shock Zeus was unhooded and on his way. Different day different bird! Zeus was absolutely on it, maybe the flat ground and gentle breeze combined with a closish hare helped . He sprinted flat out back towards the hedge, flipped over as the hare ran through, accross the track and over the next hedge, and id lost sight. I ran back onto the track and ran down it in the direction of flight whilst looking through the hedge to see where the bird had gone. I saw him out into a field and waved the hood in my right hand to get his attention. I could see him listening to my whistles and looking for me, then he clocked the movement above the hedge and powered back to me, in fact he came in like he was in hunting mode and hit the glove hard. Judging by the bits of old stubble straw stuck to his undercarriage hed gone in hard to the hare.

I walked back to the same bit of field with the well behaved pup but nothing else moved, so we crossed the track again to walk those fields next to the van. Id quartered the highest end of the field and then worked my way down one side with the view to repeating the same on the other side. At the lower end of the field runs a cover strip, I started wlaking this but the wetness of the leaves irritated me so I walked ten feet out from it as the dog worked it! Half way or more along this bottom end I noticed the ground was wet and puddled, I thought to myself (as you do in your own company!) that this wont hold hares, then remembered a couple of years ago elsewhere walking through flooded ground and a hare got up form a meter round patch of grass raised above the puddles. As these thoughts drifted through my head a huge pair of black tipped ears sprung forward four feet infront of my wellies, the ears followed by a giant ball of fur that had no right to be invisible among a few inches of leaves!! Startled from my thoughts, my right hand was on auto and the hood was off, Zeus was airborne in the same moment. He again was spured on by a hare running away close by and on flatish ground, Zeus was absolutely on it, never mind looking unfit, he looked like he was after murder! His wings were powering him forward with huge deep scoopfulls of air, in very much female eagle style...his usual style!

The hare made the hedgerow just ahead and Zeus was over it like a fast hurdles runner, he winged up, folded his wings back as his whole form pivoted side ways in the air and he went head first into the hedgebottom...and teh big hare came out my side and ran away up along the hedge!
I walked forward and whistled Zeus, He came back, again flying like in killing mode, and was looking past me slightly and heading after his eyes, I looked back and teh pup who was still on 'sit' was in his flight path, I ran a few feet to my right and his eyes looked at me and in he came, again, very hard. This bird was really wanting to kill today and was on a mission.

I fed him half a doc and let him rest before hooding him. His head feathers were ruffled, no, theyd gone!! A half inch wide strip about an inch and a half long was bald ontop of his head .****! I examined him and his belly feathers too were ruffled with white underdown sticking trough.His head skin wasnt damaged and his keel felt ok. He obviously decided today he wanted to be a giant redtail! I walked to the spot in the hedge and sure enough his feathers were strewn along a stumpy length of thick old bramble and on the floor below. Roll on the moult as last time he knocke doff a tiny patch of head featehrs they didnt grow back till summer!

We walked the next and similar field, the dog running lower ground on the gently sloping field as I walked the top section, half way out and a hare got up underfoot, Zeus was off but these close hares cna be the worst kind of slips for a big eagle. The hare pulled hard right straight away taking him uphill into the now stiffened breeze and straight for a cover strip at the top end of the field (I cant walk this strip until pheasant season has finished!) From this standing start and with no airspeed yet Zeus just could no way match this tight turn and by the time he was heading int the right direction hed been beat and drifted left into the next field where he ditched. The pup was on sit and I walked across 'my' field toward the dividing hedge, and another hare got up at my feet! My right hand was holding the hood and I had no eagle, but funnily my right arm went through the motions of unhooding the eagle!!I chuckled in my mind...
I recalled Zeus and he again set a course for the pup! I shouted and waved and he reset course for me. Im not sure if he was expecting the dog to produce something or he fancied sprinkling salt and pepper on the poor hardworking and well behaved pup!

we ended up doing a third field next to these two as I was now desperate for a fair chance as this eagle was on serious form. Sadly I didnt see another hare despite this field being twice the size of the others.

******!

It's amazing how much you can right about not catching anything!!!hehe. It shows how exciting and involved this falconry lark can be and how thrilling seeing an eagle can be when its in full hunting mode, even if the outcome favours the hare!

Write
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  #835  
Old 11-01-2018, 08:50 PM
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I Love My Dog I Love My Dog is offline
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Default Re: Zeus- a muddled diary in pics and words!

Great write up as always.
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  #836  
Old 11-01-2018, 10:19 PM
Sharpster Sharpster is offline
Dave Sharpe
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Default Re: Zeus- a muddled diary in pics and words!

Thank you, it was good to see him on it again!
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  #837  
Old 12-01-2018, 11:56 AM
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Gods County Hawker Gods County Hawker is offline
Mark Hilary
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Default Re: Zeus- a muddled diary in pics and words!

Another cracking write up Dave the way you write it I am in field with you urging Zeus to make the kill
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  #838  
Old 12-01-2018, 12:23 PM
Sharpster Sharpster is offline
Dave Sharpe
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Default Re: Zeus- a muddled diary in pics and words!

Thankyou, hopefully well get something soon, luckily my son and his ferrets and nets and fhh have at least been stocking up the freezer, its a good job eagles dont eat like falcons as they eat more than their fair share already these two useless blobs hehehe
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  #839  
Old 12-01-2018, 02:09 PM
ShaneShac ShaneShac is offline
Shane
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Default Re: Zeus- a muddled diary in pics and words!

Another great read! Unlucky and make sure Zeus doesnt see you like food! Clean shaven and no furry hat

He will grab the pesky wabbit next outing!
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  #840  
Old 15-01-2018, 06:42 PM
Sharpster Sharpster is offline
Dave Sharpe
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Default Re: Zeus- a muddled diary in pics and words!

weight two ounces too high!

weather: shocking!

After a morning of still conditions and heavy constant drizzle it changed a bit after lunch!


I spent the morning catching up on emails and bookings, as well as other jobs that needed doing. Fed and cleaned all the other birds and then packed the eagle into the van along with the hound and the kit. My son came along too and brought his FHH Zara.

The rain had stopped and the skies brightened about 12.30 so off we headed for the 17 mile drive to the estate. After the still, wet morning we weren't prepared for the howling wind out in open countryside! This winter, as per the UK norm these days, has been very wet and windy however today took the mickey! It was so windy the torrential rain that hit within fifteen minutes of us stepping out came sideways. Now often well say it was so windy the rain was coming down sideways, but today it wasnt a shallow angle blown by the wind, it was raining sideways! perfectly horizontal and in big cloudy swathes that soaked us through our coats rather quickly.

I stood leaning into the wind while my son and the pup walked some rough ground below me. It was hard standing still and the hooded eagle was still opening his wings and was restless. I didnt want to slip him unless there was some point to it as due to his weight I could end up walking a long way down wind to get him back on the glove!
Before they walked the cover a hare broke way away and a long way upwind so I watched him run off. Nothing moved in the first field except the weather and the bird was fidgetting so much I held the ends of the jesses with my right hand incase her huge sails, swelled by the wind pulled them through my gloved fingers.

I wasnt feeling it today, the bird was overweight, we stopped to chat to the keeper who is just recovering from a bad bout of flu, and the bird bated away from his truck with nerves and to be honest without a well positioned line of beaters the likelyhood of any hares running anything like fairly in these conditions was almost nill!

We walked on downwind and saw one hare run away in the distance again upwind and that was it. I suggested to my Son he slipped and I wouldnt fly Zeus now. We walked a different route back to the van, of course now upwind. My son walking way upwind on the hope that id put up any hares. Nothing at all except another upwind and distant hare running along the hedge. Zeus went back into the van whilst my son flew his hawk in the wind purely for exercise. waste of time today!

Now the only day off is Thursday and that will be spent seeing my nan who turns 98 that day, the weekend I have to work ..... See what next week brings to this rather sporadic seasons flying.

Rainbow pics to follow....
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