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  • one last trip

    I took the pups out for a hike/hunt yesterday afternoon to wrap up the grouse season. 35 degrees and sunny made for perfect walking conditions (as long as I stuck to the trail). As far as hunting goes, the lumpy, thick, heavy snow in the thickets made it almost impossible to get off the trail. Therefore, we didn't flush any ruffed grouse. I saw a little group of spruce grouse in the trail and tried to sneak up to take a picture, but my over-eager Labrador chased them away before I could get close enough for a good shot.

    On the way back, I spotted another spruce grouse at the same place in the trail. Since we never found any ruffs and since the next bird hunt was going to be a few months away, I didn't use my camera for the shot that followed. I guess he will taste like spruce tips, but Katy (sort of) had fun retrieving him.

    Click image for larger version

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    Thanks for all the help and good stories this winter.
    Passing up shots on mergansers since 1992.


  • #2
    Dog decisions

    I'm hoping to catch a ptarmigan near one of the trails in Hatcher's Pass on this final day of the season. Maybe by warning people that my first picture submission to this forum is possible it will increase my odds of actually having to report to everyone tomorrow. I have my shorthair/lab mix and a yorkie but I think the terrier stays home. He was the only one that went for a swim in a deep meltwater pool yesterday though so maybe he has what it takes to bring home my first small game prize.
    Go Big Red!

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    • #3
      Skinny, did you see any bunnies?

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      • #4
        I saw nary a bunny. There was an eagle out there though. I'm not sure what's up with a bald eagle on CHSR this time of year unless he thinks there are bunnies somewhere nearby.

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        Passing up shots on mergansers since 1992.

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        • #5
          Nice pictures! Great to get out one last time! I've seen more and more eagles staying later and later the last few years. I don't know much about them! I do know that I get excited every time I see one! I did see a boreal owl the other day....or at least I thought it was a boreal. I hear them around my house a lot. I didn't know what I was hearing for the longest time, I suspected it was sort of owl, so I went on line and listened to a number of owl sounds. I finally pinned it down to the boreal owl.

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          "If I could shoot a game bird and still not hurt it, the way I can take a trout on a fly and release it, I doubt if I would kill another one." George Bird Evans

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          • #6
            That's a nice owl. You were lucky to catch one out in the open like that. Look at those intense eyes!
            Passing up shots on mergansers since 1992.

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            • #7
              Skinny,

              Good going on that last hunt!

              Hoyt,

              It appears to be a northern hawk owl to me.

              Jim

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Hoyt View Post
                Nice pictures! Great to get out one last time! I've seen more and more eagles staying later and later the last few years. I don't know much about them! I do know that I get excited every time I see one! I did see a boreal owl the other day....or at least I thought it was a boreal. I hear them around my house a lot. I didn't know what I was hearing for the longest time, I suspected it was sort of owl, so I went on line and listened to a number of owl sounds. I finally pinned it down to the boreal owl.

                [ATTACH=CONFIG]47366[/ATTACH]
                Nice picture Hoyt, but that is a Northern Hawk Owl. They are one of the only owls you can see out like that in the middle of the day. Boreals are strictly nocturnal. They don't have a long tail like that either. Cool picture though. They make a similar call. That might be why you thought it was a Boreal Owl.

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                • #9
                  Thanks for the info guys! I need to get one of those Alaska bird books! This owl was sort of near my house. The sounds I generally near my house are usually in early summer, during late evenings (not really much o a night time in the summer).
                  "If I could shoot a game bird and still not hurt it, the way I can take a trout on a fly and release it, I doubt if I would kill another one." George Bird Evans

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                  • #10
                    One last trip? I've still got another month to chase ptarmigan.... which will be the goal for this weekend.

                    Thanks for the insight, Mr. McCann. I've learned a ton this season by reading your musings about birds.
                    Passing up shots on mergansers since 1992.

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                    • #11
                      Skinny, I was wondering why you shut down the season so early. I need to carve out some time and decide how detailed to make my final hunt report from the Dirty South (Mat Su). I'll live vicariously through you gents (or ladies if you are watching and hitting the trails) until next month.

                      Hoyt, awesome picture of one of my favorite owls. Most owls look intense but those northern hawk owls just have something almost frightening about them. They are so cooperative by perching at the top of bare tree tops during the daylight. During erruption years where the Great Plains would fill up with boreal species looking for voles we would see them often. I don't condone it but some folks for photography purposes would take mice out with them and release them and the owls would swoop in and snatch them up.
                      Last edited by PG13; 04-01-2011, 10:40. Reason: Title IX
                      Go Big Red!

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                      • #12
                        I think the ptarms have mostly moved to wherever they go in the spring. I have only seen a handful in the past month. It probably doesn't help that I haven't really been able to get away from the high traffic areas... the birds either hunker down and don't flush or they've already been chased away from the favored snowmobiling spots. Obviously that is only my experience, and there is every likelihood that there are actually droves of ptarmigan out there - just waiting for me and the fat lab to find.

                        btw Hoyt,
                        The Sibley Guide to Birds of North America is a good bird book that I have found useful up here. I also like Scat and Tracks of Alaska and Alaskan Wildflowers, all of which are available at Gilligans Bookstore over next to the college. I would imagine they are at Barnes and Noble as well.
                        Passing up shots on mergansers since 1992.

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                        • #13
                          Skinny,

                          The ptarmigan are indeed moving toward their breeding grounds. While out hunting today I photographed cock/hen pairs of rock ptarmigan out on what I know to be their breeding ground. Willows have been moving through for a couple of weeks and have been appearing around town and up on the local domes, stopping for some willow buds here and there before continuing their migration. Brought home some chunky birds today and had a blast again.

                          And you're quite welcome for any little insight I can offer on my favorite subjects!

                          Jim

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by SkinnyD View Post
                            I think the ptarms have mostly moved to wherever they go in the spring. I have only seen a handful in the past month. It probably doesn't help that I haven't really been able to get away from the high traffic areas... the birds either hunker down and don't flush or they've already been chased away from the favored snowmobiling spots. Obviously that is only my experience, and there is every likelihood that there are actually droves of ptarmigan out there - just waiting for me and the fat lab to find.

                            btw Hoyt,
                            The Sibley Guide to Birds of North America is a good bird book that I have found useful up here. I also like Scat and Tracks of Alaska and Alaskan Wildflowers, all of which are available at Gilligans Bookstore over next to the college. I would imagine they are at Barnes and Noble as well.
                            Thanks for the info! I'll have to look for that book!
                            "If I could shoot a game bird and still not hurt it, the way I can take a trout on a fly and release it, I doubt if I would kill another one." George Bird Evans

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Hoyt View Post
                              Thanks for the info! I'll have to look for that book!
                              In the meantime, check out whatbird.com . Good website for bird identification. They even give the calls.

                              http://www.whatbird.com/

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