Return of the Jedi

For the past year, my newest birding companion has been this young lady.


Kuura is a 14 month old Samojedi (Samoyed in English) or just 'Jedi for short.

I now rarely drive anywhere birding without her. Consequently I , naturally, have to maintain her list for her. She has trouble penciling the ticks into the book herself.

Birding with a dog brings it's own challenges and rewards, and often I get the feeling she would rather eat the birds we see than watch them.

On other occasions she genuinely seems fascinated by the comings and goings of migration. I'm obviously applying a distinct level of anthropomorphism here. 

My clearest recollections of this were, once when she was only a few months old, on her first visit to the mökki, she seemed genuinely amazed by skeins of migrating geese overhead. It was charming to watch this little creature experience the natural environment of Finland for the first time, and realize that there was a bigger world out there than the room she and her siblings had been born in, or the houses she had visited so far. 

Another instance I can recall, whilst using the car as a hide to watch a bird feeder near our cabin, she was enthralled by the several Nutcrackers scrabbling around the peanuts. Usually if there's something she wants to chase or devour she is quite vocal on the subject. On this occasion her expression was quizzical. She sat quietly for over an hour watching their comings and goings. 

Having Kuura in tow when birding means increased human interaction. There's no way around it. People will cross the street to meet her. One time a shop owner even abandoned her store to meet her. She just walked out, didn't close up or anything, just left the desk, customers inside etc, and marched straight over to make her acquaintance.

I don't mind this nearly as much as I used to before being a dog owner. In my past life I would shun dudes (As is tradition and just). They were a hindrance. A scourge even. Now I have a buffer.

Kuura relaxing on her favorite couch at mökki

Kuura's first twitch was a conveniently located Lesser Grey Shrike, on the scenic route to mökki. 
Great birds the Lesser Greys, rare but regular here and I often get to see a couple every summer. Kuura enjoyed it very much, but probably more for the several adoring twitchers lavishing attention on her. 
In fact two"Twitching-widows" basically took over the task of puppy-sitting.

Lesser Grey Shrike - Irish gold. Finnish routine.

On bird towers, Kuura tends to take the opportunity for a snooze, which in fairness I have often done myself as I enter old age.

Dead Polar Bear

A dog's ability to sleep virtually anywhere is amazing and enviable
Kuura genuinely loves the great outdoors which makes her the ideal dog for us
Running in the woods is a rare, rare treat. 
Of course, she has her moments. This was my trusty old macmillan guide. Was.

Wanton puppy destruction. Serves me right for leaving it on the couch.

And not a trace of guilt

Still, most of the time at least, we would rather have her with us than not.
Cue the obligatory awwwwwww


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