Good Things

Just a quick post to mention a few good things in recent days…

How many chukar made it?

I received a report a couple of days ago from a friend who was at Brownlee and heard chukar calling. That made me happy because a month ago I spent the day on Oxbow Reservoir and heard not a peep from a chukar; normally I’d hear chukar calling most of the day down there at that time of year. So some birds survived the heavy winter in Hells Canyon. I’d guess that the steeper draws filled with brush and springs might have offered a haven for chukar in the area. I’m hoping the breeding pairs that survived are prolific.

Angus 10 years ago

Angus just turned 10, and — knock on wood — is healthy and spry, if appearing occasionally beleaguered by Peat’s youthful enthusiasm. Together, both dogs collaborate on our walks and runs, mildly harassing the quail and pheasant along the Weiser River Trail. They’re staying fit and trim. Unlike last summer, though, we have yet to budge any Huns or chukar. Keep hope alive.

Chillin’ in the library

Peat, believe it or not, is actually calming down a wee bit. We’ve still not cured him of his love of counter-surfing, but because he’s rather small for an American Brittany, we’ve learned his grab-ability range and are able to keep desirables safe. He also spends more time now just chillin’ inside, but ignites the second we appear to be heading outside. We get momentary glimmers of a future home without a crate, something unimaginable even a month or two ago.

Despite tick season exploding massively in the past week, we’ve been fortunate to minimize the impact on both dogs. For the second year in a row we’ve gone with monthly Advantix treatments, which don’t seem quite as effective as Frontline did at killing ticks that attached themselves to the dogs, but we’re also not seeing as many on the dogs (yet anyway); maybe the Advantix is deterring some ticks from hanging on once they successfully “quest” a dog.

Image result for tick questing
Tick in “questing” position, waiting for a host to pass so it can grab on.

The frequent storms have dramatized the early part of summer vacation around here, reminding us of Scotland’s wet, windy springs instead of our normal parched Junes. There’s new snow on mountaintops today. We think this is good, and are grateful not just for the beauty, as if that’s not enough.

Back porch after the rain, looking toward Brownlee

Inspired by my wife (although the jury’s still out, for me), I’ve been using some of my extra summer-vacation time to look more into Instagram. My resistance comes from believing our culture is far too involved in tiny virtual worlds. The upside, though, for me initially anyway, is seeing how many people are actually involved in the big wide world (and choose to share images from their involvement on tiny screens). There’s definitely a “game” to Instagram (involving followers/following ratios, and other expansion strategies, which I don’t like), but I have enjoyed making some connections to other like-minded (but different) bird chasers. As E.M. Forster’s epigraph to Howard’s End commands: “Only Connect.”

Finally, we sold a bunch of hats – almost all of them, actually – on the new shop’s first day, and are thankful for the support. We’ll have more soon, with some different models, too, including an all-blaze/non-mesh hat for the field. Stay tuned.

Recovering from the latest bout of vertigo (not a good thing)

11 Replies to “Good Things”

  1. Great reading Bob…nice to hear from you and what is going on in Hells Canyon. This will be my first year hunting over there, so I really appreciate the your stories.

    1. Thanks, Charlie. I’m hopeful (slightly) about Hells Canyon this season; I’m expecting to have to explore some new areas that didn’t get hit with as much snow. But maybe we’ll be pleasantly surprised by the survival of those red-legged devils!

  2. Nice to hear some birds survived. We have been spending some time in the Leslie Gulch area of the Owyhees and have seen or heard a few birds, but nothing like past years.

  3. I’m with you Leslie. Bob, I spent quite a bit of time over your way this spring and was excited about the number of paired birds earlier and also how many single chukars I saw about two weeks ago. I’m a little concerned about the rain we got the last couple of days and any chicks that might have hatched in the last week. Hopefully the Brownlee area had less moisture than we have had.

    Congratulations on your new adventure and I’m looking forward to your stories and Leslie’s pictures of Angus and Peat.

    1. Thanks, Larry. We’ve gotten lots of rain, and the temps have been cool, but I’m betting the parents have managed to keep the chicks safe. Yesterday we came across a boatload of parents and chicks along a creek (music to my ears), and there’s plenty of cover from the rain down there. I know it’ll be sparse, but so far I’ve seen more than I expected… And guess what? Leslie’s decided she wants to try hunting (with a gun) for the first time this fall! I might be spending some time behind the camera… Exciting.

  4. Glad to hear some birds up north survived. I’ve heard some semi good reports of birds here in northern Utah where it has been very dry the last three weeks. I’m hoping the dry weather jump started the hoppers and other bugs for all the birds to eat!

    1. Saw lots of hoppers and bugs on our hike a couple days ago. We’ve had unusually cool and rainy weather in June, but I’m hopeful that the few birds who survived can keep their chicks safe through the summer, and maybe even double-clutch. Numbers will definitely be way down this season, though.

Chirp away

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