Wednesday, 3 December 2008

A red-tailed hawk and a three-legged dog

Nothing much happens in the small Hertfordshire town where I live (though we have made the headlines once this year). But I’ve seen two unusual sights in two days, so thought I’d share them with you.

Yesterday I met a three-legged dog.

When I say ‘met’, it glared at me and my dog from a distance, stalked us for several yards, then gambled towards us at a frightening pace (given his disability). I stood my ground while my cowardly and totally soppy Springer Spaniel groveled in case the newcomer was unfriendly. [My dog was attacked when he was a puppy and has learnt to be wary of growly border-collie-types who can out-run him!]

But fear not, dear reader, after a quick sniff, the three-legged dog trotted off. Then he cocked his leg…

…Not by slightly raising the stump of the missing leg, but by doing what can only be described as a doggie hand-stand.

Talk about adaptability! (And what fantastic balance.)


Today, because the sun was shining, we dared to stray further from home to a nearby country-park-cum-woodland (owned by the Woodland Trust, in fact), which is a very popular dog-walking venue – providing you don’t mind washing off the cow pats and badgers-doings when you get home.

We’d had a good stretch through the fields in the sunshine, and climbed high up into the woods then back down to head for home, when I spotted a chap walking towards us behaving rather oddly.

Not sure whether to choose a different direction (I am hyper-conscious of potential problems walking alone in isolated spots, even with my dog and mobile phone), I paused and shielded my eyes from the sun to see if I could tell what he was up to.

As he approached, I realised – he’d been catching his red-tailed hawk.

I put my dog on the lead and so we got a really good close-up of the bird, and a quick chat with the ‘owner’ who assured me that this huge bird of prey is fine with dogs. He tells me he doesn’t need a licence to own/hunt with the beastie, which surprised me, knowing how up-tight some farmers can be about their live-stock. Apparently, though, the red-tailed hawk only goes for the small-fry that farmers think of as pests (cute bunny rabbits, mice, voles, squirrels etc).

Having seen it up-close, I’m very glad he caught the bird, before it caught us!


This wasn’t what I had intended to write in my blog this week, but you know how things can pile up. Things I was intending to write about:

* Eddie Izzard live in London last Saturday - excellent; and included an hysterical joke for editors… but damned if I can remember it. Woe.
* Last night’s Horizon on ‘Time’, plus more on science communication.
* Still trying to get round to doing my ‘green’ story; started it in September. It will come, eventually.
* And ‘slow blogging’ - snippet spotted in Guardian last week. Instead of writing about it, I’ve been practising it!

1 comment:

The Slow Smoulder said...

Thanks for the comment about slow blgging. I must have had this in mind when I created The Slow Smoulder. And I'm also applying it to my business blog!

I'm hoping you have remembered Izzard's joke about editors - I do appreciate his take on things.