Sunday, May 14, 2017

Øygarden 12 May 2017 - The end of an era

Today my dog, Whisky, went to the happy hunting grounds in the sky where he will be forever finding cryptically patterned waders, killing mink, and going on birding trips.

When I said yes to my very young daughter as she pleaded "Daddy PLEEEASE, PLEEEASE can we get this puppy" I wasn't being a good father - I knew that having a dog would mean I would be "forced" to go out with him whatever the weather. So when I said yes to this I knew I would see a lot more birds. He was my faithful birding companion from then on - but it was a close call as at just a few months of age and still quite small he was targeted by a hungry Golden Eagle kongeørn on his first ever trip to Skogsøy.

We will now be able to say the word "Skogsøy" out loud at home without having a very excited and optimistic dog ready to go at a moment's notice.

Whisky was well liked by all those who seawatch at Skogsøy. Here watching a flock of Oystercatcher in April 2016

He was well known to all those who bird in Øygarden and especially for his patience during long seawatches at Skogsøy.  He was my constant birding companion for almost 15 years, has found countless Woodcock rugde, Jack Snipe kvartbekkasin, Water Rail vannriske and more besides.

Just a couple of the many Mink that Whisky put a welcome end to

Killing Mink on a regular basis he also did his bit for conservation in the area. Once he even managed to catch and kill a Mink underwater after leaping off a cliff into the sea - not bad for a dog who didn't like to swim. The breeding birds at Herdlevær will face tougher times without him as it was here he scored best.

Cats entered our garden to prey on birds at the feeder with their lives at stake. Those that got the chance soon learnt that my garden was not a safe place for them.

He also saved the lives of at least two lambs and a goat all of which he found having fallen into holes / boggy areas / into crevasses. He pointed them out to us enabling rescue of said herbivore.

Without him I fear there will be even less time out and about for me. Not having to take him out regularly will probably mean I end up working more and birding less....

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