‘Floppy’ (named by my 3yr old son) a 12 day old Finnish Tiercel goshawk was picked up from Mick Kane on the 5th June ’05. He was to be my first imprint as well as the first Tiercel Gos to be flown myself.
At about seven weeks or so after a short course on dead magpies he was introduced to the real thing. Magpies were his primary quarry during these formative weeks, whilst the young hawk built up muscle and developed his flying skills.
In September he was introduced to Partridge which had been put down as 14wk poults in the middle of august. Like most hawks he loves flying these, and was soon proving exceptionally deadly, luckily we had enough birds to find suitable points and slips most evenings.
Before long we were finding pheasants, these were flown and killed with a similar enthusiasm to the partridge.
At penning he weighed in at 1lb 14 ounces, during the hot months of July and August this was reduced to a low of 1lb 11 ½ ounces a steady rise through out the season saw him peak at his original penning weight of 1lb 14oz during the cold spell over the Christmas holidays.
He was at his most stunning when flying partridge, normally not more than a few feet from the ground with his wing beats reflecting total commitment as he pursued the quarry, changing direction slightly to compensate in any change by his quarry or to overcome the terrain. Both hen and cock pheasant were taken although on occasions he did refuse cock birds although this was put down to returning to the fray in November on fit cock birds after a 3week lay off and getting beaten a few times. Come December he flew and killed both with equal determination.
He was flown at several field meets in the company often of a large field and strange dogs, his performance at meets was always faultless never putting in a substandard performance. In fact he often saved his best flights for such days.
In late October we were at Brancepeth field meet organised by the NE region of the B.F.C After an earlier unsuccessful flight at Partridge our turn to slip came again within an enormous stubble field. Working my young G.S.P in a thin grassy strip on a back wind she soon locked on point. A Red leg partridge was flushed which turned into the wind which was blowing close to gale force and set out across the stubble. The Gos pumped hard not missing a wing beat before pulling the partridge down after a flight of some 3 – 400 yards.
During the Xmas break he was flown on 3 meets at Ragley hall. Over the course of these 3 meets he had 7 slips at pheasant all in very open ground a long way from cover, he caught 7 from 7. One flight in particular stands out, with a point in a field of young rape a hen bird is flushed about 20 yards in front of the bird the hen pheasant feeling the pressure from the Gos instead of trying to bale out goes up very high, the Gos though stays close to the ground tracking the pheasant. After about 600yds the pheasant goes up and over a large copse whilst the Gos powers straight through taking the pheasant on the other side as it attempts to swing back in.
Due to family circumstances his season was ended prematurely at the beginning of January, he also missed a 3 week spell in November when he was rested after striking a fence. His tally for the season was 113 head broken down as follows.