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Race Reports 2006

Race Report 2007

Kouchibouguac 1, July 26th - 107 km


 When I left home at 7:00 for the release point it was mostly sunny.  I was in no rush because I expected to run into fog; unfortunately, I was right.  From about 40 km south of Bathurst to just south of Miramichi River it was foggy all the way.  From there to Kouchibouguac there was less fog and it was overcast with low clouds. 

I arrived at the release point at 8:25 and immediately took the birds out of the truck.  As usual the drinkers were attached to the baskets and filled.  Only a few birds chose to drink.  It was completely overcast with some lingering high fog.  At 9:00 I released the racers from a baseball field going into the park.  The birds circled low several times.  Actually they circled the baseball backstop 3 times before they rose higher.  I have been releasing birds from this point for over 10 years and it is the first time I've seen that.  Once they circled a spruce behind the release area just like going around a merry-go-round. 

I watched them circle to the south in a tight kit for about 10 minutes before they disappeared.  Once again they seemed confused and gave me the impression that they had no clue of what was expected of them.  They would make some small circles then suddenly dart off to make small circles again.  At least they were doing this to the north of me which was some consolation.  A minute before they disappeared a small patch of blue sky faintly appeared above me and almost simultaneously the sun came out briefly.  The sun's appearance seemed to draw the birds back to the release area.  They flew back and made an abrupt turn above me and then flew off over the trees in the general direction of home.

When I reached the main road and turned north on the main highway for home the birds crossed the road about a kilometer ahead of me. 

To the Miramichi River the sky was overcast with bright clouds and the visibility was very good considering the cloud cover.  However, just as I crossed the Miramichi Bridge a solid bank of fog appeared.  It had to be at least 30 km deep and the visibility was about a half kilometer most of the way.  At the 40 km release point the fog disappeared and bright clouds appeared.  As I drove along the clouds thinned and more sunny breaks occurred.  When I reached home it was mostly sunny, hot and very humid (26 C in the shade). 

 I expected a long day but I was wrong and very pleased about being wrong.  A large group of birds arrived at about 11:30, hardly circled, landed and trapped immediately.  The first bird trapped at 11:32:22 and within 2 minutes 93 ebanded birds out of 103 shipped went through the clock.  I did not count my 20 odd 3rd round youngsters that just had yellow plastic bands.   The team was thirsty but only a few looked tired; the rest chased me around the loft looking for more food.  I only gave them ½ portion when they arrived.  They received the balance and hour later.  One more bird arrived at 12:30 and a few more reached home later in the day.

 Yesterday I found out that the Le Tour team will fly through rain; today I found out that they will fly through fog.  These were 2 difficult tosses with good results and this experience will be useful for the birds because if the summer continues like it has been they will see more of this type of weather.

As I mentioned in the diary on July 23rd Margie and I are leaving Friday morning for Halifax to our son's wedding.  We will be back Sunday night and the birds will be kept in and cared for by a neighbor until then.  The plan is to loft fly them Monday and fly the 2nd Kouchibouguac Tuesday.  Then a couple days later they will fly from Moncton.


Kouchibouguac 2, August 1st - 107 km


The second Kouchibouguac race was flown this morning in perfect weather and with very good results. 

When I arrived at the release point there were some clouds but they were leaving.  After being released the birds made a few circles to kit and then quickly disappeared towards the west over the trees surrounding the baseball feed.  This is also the direction towards the main highway going home.  They avoided the backstop this morning.

The route home was virtually cloudless; it was calm and the temperature was 13 C at a 7:40 release time.  Shortly after I drove in my driveway one group arrived just before 9:27 and a few seconds later the second group arrived to be followed somewhat later by a small group of 10 birds.  Five birds arrived early next morning.  The first race from Moncton is scheduled for Thursday, August 3rd.



Moncton 1, August 3rd - 182 km

The first Moncton race was flown this morning with good results and in good time. 

The birds were basketed the night before on an "iffy" forecast.  At 5:00 am this morning I checked the weather for Moncton and it was raining with the vague prediction of clearing in the morning. 

After the first coffee took its effect I realized that to get the most immediate accurate weather is to use the radio.  I got hooked up to high speed last December and this morning it became very useful.  I found an excellent station in Moncton and at about 5:20 one of the announcers mentioned it was raining.  It's a Classic Rock station which is my type of music so I kept listen while surfing.  At 7:30 the announcer mentioned the weather again and that it was to clearing up this morning and most importantly that he could see a blue patch of sky.  I was gone in a heartbeat.


The birds were released at 10:00 am in a mostly bright overcast sky, in 20 C and no wind conditions.  Towards the north I could see a huge patch of blue sky.  The birds were quite restless as I waited about 20 minutes for 10:00.  The drinkers were attached to the baskets but I noticed only a couple taking a small drink.  When the team was released they made a couple of low circles above, kitted and immediately headed for home.  I apologize for the first 2 release photos - I forgot I had the zoom on.


Most of the way home was under sunny skies and very calm conditions.  The first group of birds appeared just before dinner, circled behind the loft, landed and trapped immediately.  When they arrived it was 26 C and they were quite thirsty.  The others followed in small groups and singles until nightfall. Some of the later birds circled quite a few times and appeared to be nervous after landing.  I could hear a shrill bird sound to the north east of the loft.  Goshawk???

The next Moncton race is scheduled for Sunday.

Moncton 2, August 6th - 182 km


The second Moncton race was flown this morning with good results. 

At 8:45 I arrived at the release point, unloaded the birds quickly and filled the drinkers with water.  The Le Tour team was released at 9:15 into nothing but blue sky, endless visibility and with a brisk wind blowing out of the west.  After being released the birds quickly kitted and disappeared over a group of houses in the direction of home. 

The first group of about 50 birds appeared out of the south slightly after 12:00, made a half circle, dropped to the loft and trapped immediately.  The temperature at the time was 24 C and the wind was from the west at 22 km/h and gusting to 33 km/h.  The last photo is of the birds waiting patiently for dinner.  They were fed all they could eat.  If you look closely you will see that the 2nd three hour flight in 3 days had no more impact on most of the birds than a 60 minute exercise period around the loft.  I handled a sampling of birds the following morning and was quite impressed.  More details at the August Diary.


How young can you start training youngsters?

Mike Van der Jagt shipped me a pair of grizzle youngsters ORI 224 & 225 on June 23rd to be tested.  They hatched on May 24, the same day as Queen Victoria.  When I received them I had some doubts.  The first time they were out, both youngsters stayed out all day and eventually one found its way in late the first day and the other one somewhere around mid-day of the second day.  Both birds missed several of the first training tosses because I thought they were too young to be trained.  When I noticed them flying strongly around the loft for an hour with the rest I quickly changed my mind.  My opinion is if youngsters can fly around the loft easily for an hour they can probably fly many more hours on the road (Remind me to tell you a story about a pair of smoky blue youngsters later).

The first photo is of both birds.  It was taken a few minutes after the first group arrived .  ORI 224 is in the background and 225 is in the foreground.  The second photo is of ORI 224.


As you know by now this is the record of ORI 224.  His nest mate ORI 225 was 2nd in the last race.  Note that 224 only dropped his 1st flight after the first Moncton Race and 225 has yet to drop its 1st flight.


MV 224

Van der Jagt, M






I called Mike after I read the times off the clock to inform him and to get some information on the youngsters.

He wrote:

The sire of 224 and 225 is 00-CU-ORI-243.  He is 4 X 1st UNC and 8 times in the top 7.  His sire is 92-AU-H-1048.  I purchased a 9 bird kit of Bandits in 1992 from Chic Brooks (Hapyco Lofts) of Fresno California and raced them.  1048 was one of those 9.  He won a combine in Guelph and went on to become my foundation sire.  All 9 of the bandits in the kit were grand children of the White Bandit.

The dam of 224 and 225 is 2001-AU-CBS-1774 a Maximizer hen that I purchased from Rick Mardis (Continental Breeding Station).  I also raced her.  She did not win a race but won several positions from Hearst, Longlac and Moosonee. You have pictures of the eyes of both 243 and 1774.

Needless to say Mike was thrilled about the performance of these 2 late youngsters and said he will try to wear his "yellow" shirt humbly. 

I will upload the eyes of 243 and 1774 tomorrow.

The Answer to my question is:  "Quite young if the quality is there."


Truro 1, August 13th - 315 km

This morning it felt like fall was arriving early.

The Le Tour birds were released at 7:00 am from 315 km.  At the release point the temperature was in the high single digits, calm and with a mixture of sun and cloud.  When the birds left the baskets they disappeared quickly in the direction of home.


The trip home through most of Nova Scotia was under cloudless skies however once I crossed the border into New Brunswick it began to cloud over.  From Moncton on I drove under mostly cloudy skies with frequent blue patches.  At 12:00 the Bathurst weather station reported winds from the WNW at 15 km and gusts to 32 km.  The temperature was a cool 15 C.

 I arrived home at 12:30 and because the shutters on 2 middle windows were closed all I could see from the outside was a couple of birds sitting next to the window on the right side.  I just assumed they were my 3rd round youngsters that were released in Moncton on Saturday.  To my pleasant surprise this what I saw.  I left the trays with feed in them before I left Saturday.  The first group ate everything as soon as they arrived and were waiting for me to give them more.


The first bird of the group of 30 that arrived before dinner trapped at 11:58:26.  The 2nd group of 7 birds arrived about 20 minutes later to be followed by smaller groups and singles.  By the end of the day 57 birds clocked out of 60 shipped.

Addendum: To be precise the birds were released a few kilometers west of Truro, NS and  just off the Onslow road at the site of Dan Archibald's 14 acre lot.  Dan plans to build a new home here next year.  The preliminary landscaping has begun.  His decision to build a new home on this acreage had nothing to do with keeping racing pigeons.  Ha!  His wife Linda is excited as he is about their project.  Dan is 3rd from the left in the second photo.  Laslo Toth who is in short sleeves will be his neighbor.  He lives a few kilometers from here.  Carlyle Smith from Fall River near Halifax is wearing the dark blue sweatshirt. http://www.dovereleases.ca/index.cfm


The next race from Truro is scheduled for August 19th or 20th  weather permitting.  

August 13th Sunset 20:40:00

August 14th Sunrise 6:16:00 

Truro 2, August 22nd - 315 km


At 6:00 am it was raining so the  birds were released at 8:00.  The temperature was in the mid teens, it was mostly cloudy but clearing quickly and the wind conditions were calm.  The birds left the area almost immediately for home.  The skies cleared within an hour and most of the way home was under sunny conditions with the temperature in high teens.  At New Brunswick border there was a slight helping wind and as I progressed north the wind became more westerly.  At home the wind was slight from the northwest.  At arrival the temperature was in low 20's.

The first group of birds appeared over the trees from the southeast and trapped quickly.  As  you will notice from the photos (taken within 5 minutes of arrival) the first group didn't look any worse for wear than they would look after a morning exercise period.  I was very surprised that none of the first group were overly thirsty or hungry.  This suggests that they are drinking well and eating in the basket.  For both Truro races the birds spent 2 nights in the basket.  I would also like to think that this suggests that they are in good form.  The next race is from Antigonish and tentatively scheduled for August 29th.




Sunset 20:24

Sunrise 6:28

Antigonish, August 30th - 370 km


It was a tough day but that is the purpose of the Le Tour Testing Station – to find the pigeons that have the right stuff.  Today began that process. 

At 6:00 am it was very overcast so the release was postponed from 7:00 to 8:00.  I called Dan Archibald at 7:00 in Truro (over an hour drive away) and he told me that it was sunny and a beautiful morning there.  When I got home I called Donna Gavel and she told me that shortly after the release it cleared and it was a beautiful day. 

Just before 8:00 I could see blue sky just over the horizon towards the northwest.  Ninety-two ebanded birds were released at 8:00 about 15 km south of Antigonish.  It was overcast with a slight headwind.  After leaving the baskets, the birds circled to the south before they disappeared over the trees.  That was in the wrong direction but as they disappeared it seemed as if the were beginning to fly towards the west.  Within a 20 km drive on the way home from the release point the skies cleared and it was mostly sunny throughout Nova Scotia and it was a mixture of sun and cloud throughout southern New Brunswick.   But from Kouchibouguac to the Bathurst City limits it rained and showered intermittently.  My wind shield wipers had to be on during this part of the trip and a couple of times they were cranked up to high speed.  Wind was not a factor either way throughout the course.  I reached home at 2:30 and there were no birds home and of course it was mostly sunny in Rosehill.   

It was mostly sunny at the loft from about 2:00 until nightfall.  The first group of Testing Station birds arrived just before 4:30.  They were more than damp.  Birds straggled in for the rest of the day  in small groups and singles.  No doubt, today began the process of looking for the pigeons with the right stuff.  Forty-four birds reached home on the day.  By the 3rd day there were 60 ebanded birds in the loft which included my own team.  There will be another race. 

The last photo was taken at 2:30 of my yellow banded 3rd round.  They were released in Truro at 7:45 and were still damp so I suspect they flew 6 hours.


Photos compliments of Richard Schoder


Addendum:  I arrived at Ken and Donna Gavel's at 4:00 pm on Tuesday.  It was a long drive but well worth it.  It was their 35 anniversary.  I was treated to a Chinese food supper with the appropriate refreshments.  We spent the evening reminiscing and telling stories.  Richard Schoder joined us later that even.

The next morning Judy and Richard treated me to hardy breakfast before the release.  They always make me feel very welcome and look forward to seeing the release of the birds from their property.  The release point is on their acreage and one of the highest points in the area.

Sunset 20:09

Sunrise 6:39


St Peter's is on Cape Breton Island around the south west shore of the Bras d'Or Lakes at a point where the lakes appear to open to the Atlantic Ocean.  Also it is about 40 km as the crow flies from Port Hawkesbury which is just across the Canso Causeway.

This point was chosen because it is an easier access to the Canso Causeway.  From Glace Bay if the birds fly in the direction of home they will probably hit a point around Margaree Harbour and then what do they do???  According to Google Earth the coastline is almost perpendicular to home. Flying either way along the coastline is unnatural for them to do.  Actually it is about 300 km over water from this point on the way home.  I believe that some birds will choose to fly up shore and others down shore to the causeway.  This is what probably happened last year because a bird was reported in NFLD.    How many others did is an interesting question.  Others, somewhere along the coastline headed for PEI.  I suspect this because a handful arrived home with red sand on their bands and feet.  One year a late bird arrived with red sand all over it's feathers.  I guess it stopped to enjoy the red sandy beaches of PEI and had a bath.

However it is possible for the birds to fly this route from Glace Bay as they have proven many times before.  Including 9 Le Tour races and 2 training tosses with my flock it has been done 11 consecutive times in 10 years.

St Peter's #1 on Cape Breton Island, Sept 7th - 450 km


The Le Tour Team was released this morning at 7:30 am in St Peter's.  Carlyle Smith who released the birds reported that at 7:15,  “it is text book morning – sunny, calm and the song birds could be heard everywhere”.

 At that time I was in Truro about 190 km SW of the release point and it was overcast with a low ceiling.  A communication tower on a nearby hill was covered by fog like clouds.  I released my 3rd round at 8:00 am.  At 5:00 none were home.  Well after supper 15 out of 19 birds released were in the loft flying 10 hours and more.

On my way home, about one quarter of the way to the NB border, it began to rain in quite foggy conditions with a low ceiling.  It remained that way for about 30 km and then the rain stopped and the conditions were overcast, bright with a high ceiling.  As I crossed the NB border it began to clear and the winds were not a factor.  When I passed Moncton the skies were almost cloudless and remained that way all the way home (1:30).  I called Dan Archibald at around 10:00 and he reported the conditions were the same as this morning and they were the same on PEI.  Bathurst Airport reported a west wind of 18 km at 1:00 and the winds in Moncton and the Miramichi were about half that velocity.

The first group of 13 birds arrived just before 4:00.  Eight were nominated Testing Station birds.  For the rest of the day birds arrived in singles, doubles and small groups.  A total of 28 birds arrived by night fall of which 16 were Testing Station birds.  By the second day 47 birds clocked in race time of the 63 birds shipped.  As of Sunday night  there are 52 ebanded birds in the loft.


 Sept 7th - Sunset 19:53

Sept 8th - Sunrise 6:50 & Sunset 19:51

The last race is scheduled for Sept 18th from St Peter's.

See Nelson Paw’s map.  Click Here

St Peter's #2 on Cape Breton Island, Sept 17th - 450 km

The Le Tour Team, 57 in total including my flock, was released at 8:00 am in St. Peter’s (450 km) by Dan Archibald & Laslo Toth.  They left Truro this morning at 5:00 and arrived at the release point shortly after 7:00.  Dan drove through fog around Antigonish and when he arrived at the release point there was some fog but it was clearing quickly.  By 8:00 the fog cleared, the sky was almost cloudless, it was calm and the temperature was in the low mid teens.   The birds were watered before being released and drank well.  Shortly after being released the birds headed in a northerly direction for home.  On the way home as Dan and Laslo approached the Canso Causeway they ran into fog again.  It lasted until they passed Antigonish.

I experienced similar weather conditions in Truro that morning.  The heavy fog did not lift until 8:00.  I released my yellow banded 3rd round at 8:30 and they arrived home at 12:45 in one group.  I released Laslo’s, Dan’s and Carlyle’s birds in Moncton in perfect weather at 10:45.  They reported good and quick returns. The day remained mostly sunny in most of New Brunswick and the wind was not going to be a factor either way. 

Just before 5:00 and almost 9 hours after being released 17 birds arrived and trapped immediately.  One came in a couple of minutes later.  They looked really tired and as if they flew through something???

There is a steady drizzling rain that has been falling since last night and the visibility remains poor.  The following morning six more birds arrived and very wet. The weather was predicted to stay the same for a few days.  There are 19 out of 32 TTS birds shipped home so the race will be closed today.


Sept 17th - Sunset 19:32

Sept 18th - Sunrise 7:03, Sunset 19:30



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