The next morning I again was fortunate to have warblers come to my call. These fellows were kind enough to pose for a moment before flitting off into the trees.
Subsequent visits to warbler territory have yielded no more close encounters. I think the time for staking out territory and choosing mates may be over for this year. There were other birds to see, though…BIG ones. As I was crossing the mountain I heard a cacophony of calls that I recognized as coming from Canada geese. These big birds aren’t strangers to the farm; a flock of them have taken up permanent residence just over the ridge to the east in German Valley.
Eager to see what the geese were discussing so raucously, I put the dogs in a down-stay and crept forward. The geese had done a fly-by, then settled in the upper reaches of our lower stock pond. I eased forward, trying to stay hidden but still looking for an opening for a photo. There were two pairs of Canadians swimming back and forth, calling loudly. I don’t know if they were discussing where to make a nest or whose territory it would be. I managed to get off a couple of shots before Kota broke her stay and came to investigate.
They were off in a flurry of wings and water, apparently deciding this was not the place for them. They were beautiful, though, and I hope they will come back.
I am also pleased to see that our red-tailed hawks have apparently welcomed chicks. A couple of weeks ago, I saw this one perched in a tree a couple of hundred yards or so from the nest.
And earlier this week, Mrs. Hawk was perched on the edge of her next instead of sitting in it. I assume this means she is watching over her new family.
The farm is beautiful right now. The tanks are almost full; the foxglove are coming out,
and the bluebonnets are in full bloom.
I convinced the Bagley Pack to pose for their annual portrait. Colt and Rue were happy to oblige, but Kota was a little miffed at having to stop her morning’s hunt. She alternated between being bored to tears,
and too regal to bother with such things!
She was in a slightly better mood for her Easter portrait, but not much.
Colt is no stranger to ducks. In his previous life as Shertom’s Colt, he earned his duck-herding championships and hasn’t forgotten how to do it.
Rue, on the other hand had never seen ducks in a herding setting. All things considered, I thought she did well. No ducks were damaged, and thankfully she quickly figured out she was supposed to move them in response to my commands, not eat them.
And here are a couple of our friends trying their hands (or paws) at the sport. In addition to border collies, there was a puli and a Swedish vallhund. The puli is an Hungarian herding dog known for its long, corded coat. The short-legged vallhund comes from…you guessed it…Sweden, and was bred to work cattle.
But that wasn’t the last of our herding experiences. In early April, Rue and I participated in the annual Highland Games Stock Dog Trial in Helotes (just outside San Antonio). Our performance was less than stellar, but we had a great time in spite of the unseasonably bitter weather. (I’ll bet this spectator was sorry he was wearing a kilt!)
Here are a few shots of our friends and their dogs working the sheep (who were less than enthusiastic about the whole thing).