It took a little longer today but we bagged another. The first few slips were from a rather scattered flock picking through a dumpster behind a shopping center. There was a big gully just beyond the dumpster with good cover and there were even more starlings in the bushes and trees down there. Most slips were standard misses but on one slip Hayduke missed the starlings by the dumpter and as they retreated to the bushes in the gully he followed! It was maybe a 50 yard flight and he went straight in the bushes after the one he was pursuing. The rest of the flock erupted out of the bushes and I saw Hayduke disappear into the cover after one but shortly after he popped back up empty footed and returned to my fist. Fun little flight though! A couple of crows moved in and were looking to bully Hayduke so even though there were still starlings around, we headed to another spot.
We found another good flock at the second spot. There were two slips that were as close as you could come without putting one in the bag. He had a foot on one of them but it twisted out of his grasp at the last second. Despite probably a dozen slips Hayduke was still game but time was running down. I decided to check the museum where I caught the one between two cars as a last ditch effort to beat the skunk monkey.
As I pulled in to the parking lot it didn't look promising. I didn't see any starlings on the light poles and the hedges appeared empty. Just then 3 starlings popped up from some hedges about 20 yards away. I made the slip and Hayduke tackled this one. It was quite the battle on the ground as Hayduke didn't have the best grip. It appeared he had it by the butt and was being dragged around quite a bit. He actually lost the grip on one foot just as I arrived and the starling almost got away but Hayduke readjusted and had it's neck just as I put a hand on the starling and finished it off. We headed to a nearby snowbank for our victory shots. No time to try for multiples today.
James Lee Mansell, RIP
2 days ago