Monday (12/19): Last night I went out to Kishigawa (on my scooter, in the snow!) to pick up a teal to give Spark a taste of what we're really after this season. I'm amazed at how tiny they are but they certainly are beautiful. It spent the entire night shuffling around in it's cardboard box waking me up every half hour. I have to admit that I usually feel a twinge of guilt when I use baggies but I was rather excited when morning rolled around and I loaded the little noise maker up on the scooter to toss to Spark. I guess it's only fair that he exacts a little revenge on me during his last night.
We parked behind a stack of rice bales to shield us from the occasional wind bursts that were blowing through and I tucked the teal into my coat pocket as I brought Spark out from her box. I snapped on the telemetry and began walking parallel to a small irrigation ditch with a small bit of water in it in hopes to imitate the real thing as closely as possible. I turned around so that the ditch was on my right side, the side I would be tossing the teal from, hoping that I might be able to fool Spark into thinking that the teal had actually come from the ditch. I was worried that the teal might not fly so I tossed it pretty high and it immediately headed for the horizon. For a split second Spark seemed to think, "That's not a pigeon" and hesitated in her persuit but then something clicked and she dropped off the fist. She caught up to it about 30 yards out and came up from underneath, binding to it a good 15 yards up in the air. She had it firmly by the head when I arrived. I quickly helped her dispatch her quarry and let her eat the head and neck while I leashed her up. She left the teal for some pigeon breast and I tucked it away for later as we headed back to the scooter.
I was 45 minutes late for work but if this proves to be a foreshadowing of taking more teal later this season I'll call in late every day!