Friday, September 24, 2010

The California Heritage Challenge

Last summer I only had 5 days of fishing at Lewiston Lake, of ten weeks off of work. My summer was consumed with selling my house and moving into an apartment, tennis practices two days a week, and 10 days of running tennis tournaments. I will not make the same mistake next summer. I plan to hold only 4 weekend tennis tournaments and only 7 or 8 two practice weeks.

As I get older I'm calmer, more compassionate, and looking for challenges to recapture my youth (althoAugh getting into shape to run a half marathon is looking less and less likely). But, I have found the California Heritage Trout Challenge. An angler has to catch and photograph 6 native California trout species from their historical waters (there are 10 possible species to choose from -- the 11th possibility is Endangered and off limits) . When the photographs are accepted by the California Dept of Fish and Game, a beautiful certificate with pictures of the trout species you caught, with your name on it and the locations of where you caught the fish, is presented to you (suitable for framing). I would love to have one of these on my wall -- in fact , two different ones to represent all the 10 possible species. My goal is to catch 6 to all 10 of the species this summer -- the fun is in the planning and the reward is the top of the mountain, or 6 to 10 pictures of wild fish in their native waters.

Wish me luck,

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

No Pictures, But A Cool Story

Yesterday morning I was in the laboratory waiting for my class to start. A college student entered and stated "this is kind of weird, but I think there is a hawk with a broken wing around the corner". I said "No problem, I've worked with hawks before". We went to the walkway on the West side of the Life Science building at College of the Redwoods and there was a Sharpshinned Hawk sitting on a bench.

I walked up to the bird and it was alive, but pretty stunned. The student said that it looked a whole lot better -- it had it's wings out and fluttering earlier. I picked the hawk up in a manner that it couldn't bite me or claw me. It was pretty calm so I held it like a kitten and pet it's head and held it close to me to warm it up. I surmised that it chased a bird near the building's awning and flew into a window. I hoped that it did not have a broken wing and that I would have to call the Humboldt Wildlife Care Center. I held it for about 2 minutes, keeping it warm and petting it like a kitten.

I started to extend the bird's wings to check for damage when the bird "ruffled up it's shoulders". I opened my gentle grip on the bird and it flew away, in front of the student who reported it. I've held owls, red shouldered hawks, and a black shouldered kite when helping biologists band birds, but this was a fantastic first and the bird was magnificent -- beautiful yellow nostrils and legs. It was a rare moment and ended happily