Austringers: Mike Reid, Robert Judd,
Spectators: Richard Rodden, Ross Bibby
Dogs: Skye (GSP)
Conditions were very difficult today, with very strong Westerly winds. First slip was Robert with Hector the juvenile male goshawk and within a few minutes Skye pointed at a bush near the bottom of the valley. Robert got into position and with a little encouragement Skye flushed two red leg partridges Hector was onto one of them immediately and caught it mid air after a fairly short distance. First one in the bag.
Mike was next slip with Gilly and a hen pheasant was flushed and flew straight through the wood, out the other side and disappeared from sight. The telemetry was used to track her down and she was found on top of the telegraph poles adjacent to the transformer box. She was unwilling to come to the fist as she had marked down the pheasant and was patiently waiting on a re-flush. Nervous moments followed until she recalled to the fist. We then continued through the wood looking for more game.
The next flush produced a cock pheasant for Robert’s goshawk to chase, which he did, again all the way back to the car park!
The next slip was Mike’s and a covey of partridges broke as we walked towards the group of gorse bushes, they were too far out in front to catch and they showed a clean pair of heels to enter into another clump of bushes further up the field some distance away.
Skyes next point produced a rabbit which ran up and over the hill hotly pursed by the male goshawk.
Robert chased both over the hill and returned about 10 minutes later with Hector on the fist but no rabbit.
As we moved further up the gorse Skye pointed and again flushed a partridge which came out at breakneck speed and headed towards the wood. Mike ran to see what was happening and after about 10 minutes the walkie-talkie informed us that the goshawk was in the middle of the wood sitting on a cock pheasant. How did the partridge change into a pheasant? Can’t figure that one out !!
Robert’s next flush was a hen pheasant that was chased into the nearby dense wood. When trying to retrieve the gos it was practically a hands and knees job and the gos was sitting on the ground looking at him. He reversed and the gos walked out of the wood following on behind him.
The next slip was in the wood and a rabbit ran towards the cover crop on the far side. Mike’s goshawk skirted the trees to cut across it but unfortunately a gust of wind caught its outstretched wings as it banked to close in on the jinking rabbit – and blew her into a tree! Everyone had their eyes shut but the goshawk just carried on chasing, unfortunately the rabbit had escaped.
Whilst walking back towards the gorse bushes a rabbit got up and was promptly chased into a dry stone dyke by Robert’s goshawk. It suddenly re-appeared but promptly disappeared into a hole in the middle of a small clump of gorse.
Roberts next point and flush produced a cock pheasant which put in under a large set of bushes. The goshawk piled in and we saw feathers being scattered, then the pheasant break to the next set of bushes.
When we arrived Skye was nearly standing on the pheasant which was refusing to flush. Eventually with a lot of persuasion it did indeed flush and the goshawk promptly caught it a short distance away.
Robert then caught a rabbit which again had been located and pointed by Skye, she really did work her socks off today!
The overall impression of the days hawking was that although there was plenty of game birds on the ground, the wind was ensuring that there was very difficult flights for the goshawks.
Austringers: Mike Reid, Robert Judd, Stephen Neville, Willie Jenkins, Rab Marshall.
Spectators: Dean Bricknell(photographer) Richard Rodden
Dogs: Rosie, Derry and Skye
First up was Wullie almost straight from the car park as we were walking up the dirt track to enter the fields, Rosie came on point and then on command flushed a hen pheasant which was duly chased hard by the juvenile male gos up through the trees on the opposite bank from where we were standing . Unfortunately the pheasant escaped, a good first flight nonetheless.
The gos was quickly retrieved and we moved further up the bank through the ground cover. Mike took his position with his female gos above a point from Skye. Two hen pheasants burst from the bushes . As usual one went right and one left and the gos attached itself to the one on the right. One in the bag-superb.
The next one to fly was Stephen who readied himself and was duly rewarded by a solid point from Rosie. On command she almost jumped on top of the cock pheasant to flush it, and it proceeded to go vertical above all of our heads only to be smashed mid-air by the female gos, they both plummeted to ground in an old pheasant pen. Stephen, who had just been complaining of being a bit knackered , immediately leaped over the three foot fence like a racehorse, quickly followed by Rosie.
Robert was next to fly with his juvenile male and the next point from Skye produced a hen pheasant that burst across the field quickly tail-chased by the gos who connected twice in mid air but failed to get a firm foothold on it. The chase ended up in the nearest wood and Robert followed and quickly retrieved the gos.
Next up was Rab and a hen pheasant was flushed and was chased and travelled all the way back down to where we started at the car park. Rab went back to retrieve the gos and we moved further along the edge of the bushes.
The next point again flushed a hen pheasant for Wullie’s young gos to chase and it travelled through the first wood and into the second wood behind. The gos was proving difficult to see or hear as the wood was very dense. Everyone rallied around the wood to help and after an some time the gos was located and recalled.
Mike was next up and a good chase was had as a hen pheasant travelled towards the wood and went into cover. The gos remained in the trees and somehow the pheasant disappeared from where it had put in. Sneaky or what?
After the retrieval we moved out of the small valley and into the small plantation where Wullies gos and Robert’s Gos both chased rabbits unsuccessfully. The point was something to see as the distance between one of the rabbits and Skye was only about two feet, with both remaining motionless for what seemed like an eternity, before it sped quickly downhill and then doing a 180 uphill to lose the Gos on the turn. To be fair to the Gos the strong wind was up its tail on the downward part of the chase and it was forced to overshoot on the turn.
During the day there were various flights at a few partridges but they were all got up at distance as they were proving jumpy.
The last port of call was the other wood at the opposite side of the hill. We moved through the wood and at the first point from Rosie, Stephen’s goshawk chased a cock pheasant, which escaped out the far side of the wood.
Robert’s male goshawk was next to chase a hen pheasant off the next point and it too proceeded to break out of the wood and travelled all the way back to the car park. Robert went back to retrieve it and we followed suit as the temperature plummeted as the low sun had disappeared over the hill and we decided to call it a day.
At the car park we were packing up to go home when Skye pointed at some long grass adjacent to where we had parked the cars. She flushed a rabbit to everyones’ amusement.
A couple of photos courtesy of Dean Bricknell