The New Year Starts Well

I got to bed by about 11 PM last night, so I didn’t quite stay up to welcome the new year in my timezone, but we had plans for today, so that was that.

I got up around 4 AM. This is not unusual; with my truncated GI tract, I’m often up sometime in the night to toddle off to the bathroom. Sometimes I’m right back to bed and sleep, but this morning I had a few ideas about a writing project that I’ve had a block on for a while. I went ahead and set up the document in LaTeX, outlined my ideas by marking out sections and subsections for the article, and filled in a couple of sections. I figure that’s maybe an eighth of the article. I checked out stuff on “After the Bar Closes” and added some information on recombination to a thread that looked like it could use it. Then I went back to bed at about 7:30 AM.

Around 8:30, Diane got me up to get going on the planned part of the day. We were meeting her brother Joe and taking a dog and a hawk for an outing. First, though, Joe had a request for a couple of items from the Fry’s Electronics here in Concord. We were there when the store opened at 10 AM, and were back on the road by 10:15 AM.

We were set to meet up near Vacaville. We let Rusty out first, and she thought about chasing a jackrabbit, then did find a pheasant hiding in some blackberry brambles on a ditch side. Rusty ended up going into the brambles, flushing the pheasant. It got well away while Rusty was getting back out of the brambles. About that time, Joe arrived. We let Ritka, our younger dog, out of the car and went to check out another area. After flushing about three pheasant well away from us, we noticed Ritka locked up on point relatively near. I called Rusty over to perch on the backpack frame I take in the field, and then I approached Ritka. We were probably 20 feet apart when Ritka apparently couldn’t stand it anymore and broke point, flushing the pheasant. Rusty immediately gave chase, and we watched the two go about a quarter of a mile before disappearing from sight near a ditch. We headed that way.

I eventually came up to where Rusty was perched in a bare tree over a ditch, looking down as if to say, “It went in the ditch right here.” Ritka came by and sniffed things without result. About that time, another falconer, Jenna, came by with her goshawk on the glove. I warned her about Rusty being out and loose. Diane and Jenna had a nice chat while Ritka searched and Rusty continued to look for the missing pheasant. We set off to put some distance between the two falconry birds. While it is easy for falconers with Harris’s hawks to fly in close proximity to each other (usually, there are a few exceptions), it just doesn’t work well to try to fly Rusty and anything but another Harris’s hawk in the same area. We saw more jackrabbits and a couple more pheasant, but nothing close enough or tempting enough for Rusty to connect. The wind was picking up and Joe had to head off to catch his flight (he is a pilot for United Express, IIRC).

When I got home, I checked email and found a request for a change to the NCSE public web site from Glenn Branch. I fixed that up and sent notice to Glenn by instant message. Let me suggest a New Year’s resolution for you of becoming a member of NCSE. It costs $30, and you get both a year’s worth of the Reports of the NCSE and the knowledge that you are helping NCSE meet the challenge of anti-science forces trying to dumb down education concerning evolutionary science.

I also started looking into more stuff about anti-science policies within the administration of the National Park Service. Unfortunately, I found some pretty bad stuff. Fortunately, that makes for good blog fodder. I’m writing that up for Panda’s Thumb.

And, we’ve also gotten some more boxes sorted out, with various books set aside to go to libraries, friends, or recycling.

And there’s still a few hours left in the day…

Wesley R. Elsberry

Falconer. Interdisciplinary researcher: biology and computer science. Data scientist in real estate and econometrics. Blogger. Speaker. Photographer. Husband. Christian. Activist.