The dog skipped breakfast today to cry at the front door. I’m thinking it’s because I took the shotgun out the night before, always a mistake. The gun out the night before means the dog knows something is up, hence the breakfast skipping and crying at the front door. The unseasonably warm temperatures finally gave way to a few mornings below freezing in the high desert, allowing us to get down into the desert after some quail.

Good things behind this sign

This year doesn’t promise to be one for the record books in terms of bird numbers, dry spring, bad hatch and a warm fall aren’t doing us the favors that the abnormally wet monsoon tried to make up for. The grass is tall, the cactus are full to bursting and 40 degree sunny mornings are the norm, there are worse things than walking the hills this year. Sideoats Grama and Sacaton over the dogs head is something I will appreciate this year, because who knows when I will see it again in the quail hills.

Tall grass and happy prickly pears
Devil’s Claw seed pod (proboscidea for you plant people)
They’re around here somewhere

She ran well today, over 9 miles in a little less than 2 hours hunting. Each year she seems to get faster while making it look easier. That long, effortless lope that eats up hills and flats without seeming to change pace. She had a few very good points on meadow larks that held like tight like quail, saved by those white tail feathers that say “I’m not a quail!”. The second of which couldn’t have been more than 5 feet off her nose in a catclaw tangle.

It wasn’t by lack of effort birds were not found
Grass from the heavy monsoon has the whole area looking very different from last year
The rabbit was here

It was a pleasure to watch the dog run, the conviction of the points got the heart rate up enough to make it feel like a hunt. We stumbled into a true desert treasure, a spring in the bottom of a small basalt canyon. A few hearty cottonwoods got me curious and a dog wallowing in the sandy pool confirmed what the cottonwoods promised.

Meadowlark (not a quail) along the fence line
Happier than a pig in..

If anything this armed hike in the high desert with the dog has increased my anticipation of a great season. You never know what’s up the next wash or over the next rise.

3 thoughts on “Anticipation

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