Thursday, January 28, 2010

Multi-tasking in the desert again

Epic mud was everywhere from snow melt, hastened by recent rains. I don't think there is a soil type anywhere that can become so muddy, or as dry and dusty as those of the Snake River Plain. I was not complaining too much mind you, knowing how hard a grip winter still has on much of the country.
Forty degrees and no wind I can take.

Duck season just ended but upland game birds are still open to falconers.
My eyes were peeled for any kind, from Grey Partridge to Sage Grouse, to hunt with Skula, my young Gyrfalcon. This has been a particularly poignant year, to think that Sage Grouse may be declared an endangered species soon and therefore placed off limits to hunting. We ended up getting a decent flight on pheasants. I saw no grouse. The soggy desert was keeping them safe and isolated from the prowling vehicles of falconers.

Not far away, down Hammett Hill, sits Cold Springs winery. Since my professional game plan is to visit such operations in the region and introduce myself and my bird control service, I decided to stop by and see if anyone was around to talk to. Cold call at Cold Springs it was.
Usually I see this vineyard while shooting by on the nearby interstate. Nestled down among lava cliffs, the undulating rows of grape vines lead to a hilltop where the winery sits. A huge sign, painted on an enormously long metal shed, points out the location to passers by, who at this point will have to go another few miles to the Glenns Ferry exit to turn around, if coming from Boise.
No one was around today, not that I blame anyone for not wanting to be outside on this chilly, dreary-skied day. I left a calling card in the door and drove slowly through the vines on my way out. I noticed that they all had trunk guards on them. With the expanse of healthy sagebrush all around, I wondered if rabbits were a problem with their nocturnal nibbling. The thought occurred to me that these folks might appreciate a little rabbit culling around their place. I happen to have the perfect rabbit abatement bird, my big red-tail "Morrigan", who would just love to help out here if needed. I had not even considered that she might be used in my pest control work.
I tried to imagine big flocks of Starlings, swirling up from the river, checking out these vines in the fall. A peregrine could drive them right out of here in a hurry. Today, there was not a bird in sight. I would like to come back. Hope I get a call.

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