Spotted Towhee

DSC_0062Was out the other night just at dusk watching a Spotted Towhee catch insects. Here are a couple crops of the same photo as it came to rest in one of the Christmas trees.

I tend to prefer the closer study. I find the red eye of the Spotted Towhee fascinating.DSC_0062-2

More often I see these birds on the ground or within the branches under cover. It was enjoyable to watch this one out in the open and then not going to cover when it caught it’s insect.

Calgary Stampede

Well the stockdog competition at the Calgary Stampede is over. Not the results in the standings I was hoping for but that is all part of it. The sheep were not the easiest sheep but some people did it so we can not say impossible. I have to… add: congratulations to all the competitors as well as the finalists. I do not think I have ever been to a trial that so many dogs are getting praised by their handlers for gripping off.

On the first day we got called off for a grip that was actually an air-snap still about 10 inches away from the sheep. Judges call, judges discretion, we live with it and move on. We were starting out well, the sheep were moving. Within 30 seconds of sending Vaider the grip whistle blew. I think to date that may be the most expensive 30 seconds of my trial career.

On the second day I was third to run. We made our time but not a lot of progression on the course. One of the sheep tried to take Vaider and he again air-snapped but was not called as a grip. Vaider did not give ground he held the sheep and slowly pressed the sheep backwards till we ran out of time.

In hindsight we should not have tried to turn these sheep on the heads. We should have shouldered them around so we did not run the risk of stopping them. I needed to adapt my handling to accommodate the type of sheep but that is on me not my dog.

I am very happy with Vaider. He held the pressure and did not lose ground to the sheep. He kept his cool under the pressure that was breaking so many. He covered his sheep so they could not break back; at the same time, preventing the others from trying to leave while he dealt with the one. He had control of his sheep; there was no bump and follow. He took my commands without questioning. He did everything he could with the draws he got.

Over all a good time. Would I do it again? After a day of contemplation and beating myself up, I would have to say; I am already looking forward to getting another try at this venue next year.