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Race Reports 2007

Race Reports 2006

Kouchibouguac 1, July 27 - 107 km

 

The birds were released at 8:00 in clear, warm, hazy and no wind conditions.  They grouped immediately and without circling headed in the direction of home.  I lost the sight of them quickly over the trees.  At 8:37 and within a couple of km of the Miramichi river I saw the TTS Team flying in a westerly direction toward the Centennial Bridge.  At that time I was about 3 km drive from the bridge and had to negotiate a long "S" turn before I could see it.  I thought that with a bit of luck I might be able to see the birds crossing the river when I crossed the bridge.  When I came out of the last part of the "S" I saw the birds crossing the arch truss bridge on this side and heading in a westerly direction down the middle of the river.  I lost them because at that time I was at the bridge's highest point and I thought I better start watching the yellow line that divides the narrow 2 lane highway over the bridge.  The photos of the bridge were taken the day after the event described.

I arrived home at about 9:40; the birds arrived at 9:57.  The 1st bird owned by Shawn and Dave Putnam trapped at 9:57:52.  The Putnam's also had another bird in the first 10.  Shawn and Dave are a father and son team and are rookies in the sport.  Not bad, a first in their first race.  Congratulations!

It was another record setting day for heat and humidity.  Yesterday and today the highs were around 32 C.  Yesterday the record was set at 32.4 C as reported from the Bathurst Airport.  Usually it’s a couple degrees higher in the yard.

 Stage 1 Results    Overall Results

Kouchibouguac 2, July 28 - 107 km

 

The birds were released at 8:00 in cloudless skies but hazy conditions and a comfortable temperature of 22 C .  Upon release the birds grouped immediately and without circling headed in the direction of home.  They disappeared over the trees within a few seconds.  The birds arrived home a few minutes before I did and most had trapped by then.  The first bird to clock at 9:36:02 was Hardeep Sahota's SL 684.  Hardeep had 2 birds in the top 10.  Congratulations!

The temperature in the yard at 9:00 was 30 C and dead calm.  I can’t remember it ever being so hot so early in the morning.  Environment Canada recorded 28 C at the Bathurst Airport.  It remained this hot until approximately 12:00 when it began clouding over and cooling a bit.  Thundershowers began at 12:45.  What a good feeling when it cooled off.  By 2:00 it was back to 30 C and the final high was 31.3 C.  I am all for Global Warming in Northern NB but not this much.  Yesterday’s recording setting temperature was 32.9 C breaking the old record of 31.3 C. 

The next race is schedule for August 1st from Moncton (182 km)

Stage 2 Results        Overall Results

 

Moncton 1, August 1 - 182 km
 

I left for Moncton at 6:00.  It was 11 C.  The high the day before was close to 30 C.  August is here.  At least now I will be able to sleep in much more comfortable temperatures.

The drive was very pleasant up to the Miramichi River - no traffic, cool, calm and the skies were cloudless.  Once I crossed the river it changed dramatically.  I hit a fog bank that didn't clear until I passed Kouchibouguac.  Driving was stressful at 70 km/h.  Some fog lingered high most of the way to the release point.  I reached there at 8:20 and waited until 9:00 to release the birds to insure that the fog had lifted in Kouchibouguac.  At the release site it was mixture of sun and cloud.

It was an ideal day for a race throughout the course.  It was mostly sunny, cool and the wind was not a factor.  However the results were a bit surprising.   When the birds were released they did not circle but zig zagged a couple of times in the direction of home and disappeared.  A dozen birds arrived home in less than 3 hours then followed by a solo bird, a group of 2 and the majority of the rest arrived at 3:26 hours of flying.  The first bird clocked at 11:57:34.  The second group looked a bit tired but after a good drink and feeding they looked great.

Congratulations to the winner Bill Sheridan and everyone that did well.  Laslo Toth had 5 birds in the first drop and the next bird, a solo bird was his as well.  Wow! 

This is a photo of the droppings the following morning.  The perches haven't been cleaned for a couple of weeks.  On Thursday and Friday most birds exercised vigorously for over an hour.

Stage 3 Results        Overall Results

 

Moncton 2, August 5 - 182 km
 

When I left for Moncton at 6:20, it was cool (10 C), calm and clear.  It promised to be a good day for a race but it was a tougher race than expected.

Youngster do foolish things at times.  I arrived at the release point at 8:40 and prepared the birds for an 9:00 release.  They were unusually quiet as they were for the last Moncton race.  The birds were released in cloudless skies, a slight head wind and cool temperatures (18 C).  Upon release they immediately made a left U turn to the back of me and broke up into 2 groups.  They made several low circles, then grouped and quickly flew off in the direction of home.  The winds became more of a factor the further north the birds flew.  As I crossed the Miramichi River the flags were horizontal, pointing due south and flapping quite vigorously.  At 11:00 Environment Canada reported winds at home of 21 km/h and from the WNW.  I arrived home at 11:20 and the way the clouds were moving and the trees were bending the conditions suggested the winds were stronger with gusts and from a more northerly direction.  The first group appeared at 12:15 out of the east, circled once and landed on the loft.  The first bird clock at 12:15:38.

               

Congratulations to the winner Dan Archibald and everyone else that did well.  The first Truro race is scheduled for next Sunday August 12.

Stage 4 Results        Overall Results

 

Truro 1, August 12 - 315 km

It promised to be a good day for a race and it was.  The birds arrived in record time.

The birds were released at 7:30 in beautiful weather.  It was dead calm, most cloudy at the release point but clear in the direction of home and comfortably warm.  The skies were the mostly clear and winds were not a factor through most of the course but it was quickly getting warmer.  When I crossed the Miramichi River the flags were on the north side of the pole hanging still.  This suggested that the birds might pick up a slight helping wind for the rest of their journey.  When I passed the airport the flags were fluttering slightly and on the north side of the pole.

 As I turned off on the Rosehill Road, Margie called on my cell phone and said a large group of birds had just arrived and began trapping immediately.  The birds beat me by a couple of minutes.  When I drove in the yard only 2 birds remained on the roof.  They were whistled in quickly.  It was 26 C at that time.

Richard Schoder’s entry 21157 was the first bird to trap at 12:22:45 and flying the distance in the record time of 4:52:45.  Congratulations Richard!

                                       

By the second day 63 out of 64 birds had reached home.

Stage 5 Results        Overall Results              

Truro 2, August 19 - 315 km

 

It promised to be a tough race but not as tough as I expected. 

Sixty-three (63) Le Tour entries were released this morning at 7:00 am in Truro.  It was mostly clear but quite cool and the head winds were quite brisk at the release.  When I got up at 5:30 they were scary strong.  Throughout Nova Scotia and the lower half of New Brunswick the winds remained quite strong with gusts from the west.  As I crossed the Miramichi River all flags pointed south and remained that way until I got home.  Because of the winds I didn’t expect any birds until 1:00 but was pleasantly surprised and caught off guard to see the first group through the kitchen window arriving shortly after 12:30.  The first bird trapped flying 5:33:25 hrs.  Fifty-six (56) entries arrived by 3:30 and 61 birds clocked in race time..  The winds were definitely a factor in the race today.

    

The first 2 Le Tour birds to trap were bred and entered by Dan Archibald.  Congratulations Dan and everyone else who did well. 

Weather permitting Antigonish race will be flown this weekend.

Stage 6 Results    Sprint Results    S1 to S6 Results    Overall Results

 

Antigonish, August  27th - 370 km

 

When I arrived in Antigonish late Sunday afternoon, the temperature was 34 C.  Luckily the forecast was for much cooler weather for the next day.

The Le Tour team, a group of 60 remaining entries, was released at 7:30 into a brisk head wind.  At the start the skies were a mixture of sun and cloud but that changed to mostly sunny skies through out the course.  During the day, the course warmed up to an average 23 C and the winds remained a constant head wind blowing between 5 and 10 km from a northerly direction.  The first bird arrived solo at 2:21:00 and 6 minutes ahead of a group of 13 birds.  Birds arrived home for the rest of the day in various sized groups.  By nightfall 42 birds arrived on the day and the balance arrived the following day; therefore, all entries clocked in race time.

Congratulations go out to Ken Gavel whose entry 07 CU 21172 was clearly the best bird on this day and congratulations to all that did well.

               

The first St. Peter's race (450 km) is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday September 4th.

Stage 7 Results    Sprint Results    S1 to S6 Results    Overall Results

Canso Causeway, Sept 3 - 400 km

 

Stage 8 was flown today.

The weather prediction for the course was for SW winds of 20 to 30 km with gusts up to 50 km.  At the NS – NB border and through the Tantramar Marshes the prediction was for winds of 50 km and gusts to 70 km.   The winds through Nova Scotia would be mostly on their nose and through NB the winds would be hitting the birds at a 45 degree angle from the SW.  The decision was made to bring the birds back to the Canso Causeway area (400 km) and release them as early as possible to take advantage of the early morning calm.

Carlyle Smith released the birds at 6:45 into a slight head wind.  He reported that after a few short circles they headed in the direction of home.  However when they hit the St Georges Bay which opens up into the Gulf of St Lawrence they turned west and followed the coastline.

 I left Truro shortly after 8:00 am for home.  It was fairly calm but by 8:30 the winds began to gain strength and by 9:30 when I reached the NB border the winds were as predicted.  Through the Trantramar marshes all vegetation was almost flat to the ground, it became very overcast, the visibility was less than 5 km and there was a light mist in the air that threatened rain.  Thankfully this only lasted for about 20 km and the rest of the journey home was in a mix of sun and cloud.  The winds sustained their velocity from the SW all the way to the loft.  At 12:00 Environment Canada reported winds in Moncton from the SW of 22 km and gusts up to 30 km.  On the Miramichi the winds were similar but gusts were up to 35 km.  At home they were WSW at 28 km with gusts of 37 km.  Needless to say I expected a long day.

I arrived home at 12:20 and to my surprise a group of 34 birds of which 26 were TTS entries arrived at about 1:13.  A second group of 11 entries arrived about 25 minutes later.  By 3:30 over 70 birds were home out of 104 birds shipped and by 7:00, 87 birds had arrived.  By nightfall 57 out of 63 TTS entries were home.

Dan Archibald's entry CU 231 won it's 3rd first timing after flying 6:28:02 hours.  Congratulations go out to Dan and all that did well.

September 4 - Just a note about yesterday’s race: 

Because of yesterday’s prediction for strong SW winds and the uncertainty of what impact the winds would have on the birds, Carlyle and I had 3 plans for the release:

Plan A – Release from St Peter’s as originally planned.

Plan B – Release from the Canso Causeway (Carlyle’s idea).

Plan C – Release from Glace Bay the following day.

We were both reluctant about using Plan C because being familiar with Maritime weather patterns and especially this time of the year, if the winds blew the following day they would in all probability shift to the northwest.  They did and from early morning the winds throughout the Maritimes blew from the NW up to 30 km with gusts up to 50 km.  That’s a dead on headwind.  Needless to say, Plan C would have been a disaster.  Two heads are always better than one.

The next morning I let the birds out for a bit of light exercise.  The winds were really strong.  Almost all the birds, except for a few late arrivals flew over the 45 min mark.  About a third stayed up for a solid hour.  The last group of 20 came down after flying over 85 minutes.  I wasn’t sure if they kept flying because they felt great or because the winds made it too difficult to land.  I suspected the latter was true until the last group landed.  I watched them closely as they trapped.  They showed absolutely no signs of stress or fatigue.  I don’t know where they get the energy.  I was still tired from the previous day's 10 hour round trip.

Stage 9 is tentatively schedule for sometimes next midweek.

See Nelson Paw’s map.  Click Here

 Stage 7 Results    Sprint Results    S1 to S6 Results    Overall Results

 

St Peter's on Cape Breton Island, - 450 km

 

Dan Archibald and Laslo Toth released the birds at St. Peter’s at 8:00 am into a light northerly wind and clear skies. Throughout Nova Scotia the winds were brisk from a northerly direction.  The weather through NB was solid.  It was mostly sunny, the temperatures were in the high teens, the wind in the southern part of the province blew from the NNE briskly.  From the Miramichi to home the NE wind was less than 10 km.  It promised to be a fairly challenging day for the birds and that was the plan.

The decision to race Sunday was made on Friday afternoon after closely studying the weather and the birds.  The concern was that they would only have a 6 day rest after flying 6:30 hours in the last race and this would be their 3rd flight in 14 days for a total of  1220 km or 760 miles.  Moreover the prediction was for 20 to 30 km northerly winds throughout the course which would be mostly be side and headwinds therefore a 10 hour flight was more than likely.

The birds exercised very well all week.  The day after the last race (6:30 hrs on the wing) most birds exercised for 60 mins and some flew 85 mins without being flagged.  For the rest of the week they exercised up to an hour and on Friday they flew a solid hour.  I handled and inspected some of the top birds the same day.  A few weeks ago I said my challenge would be to maintain their current condition for the balance of the schedule because I didn't think they could improve in condition.  Well, I was wrong again.  They were better.  The birds I handled had snowy white wattles, pink throats, clean feet, clean shiny feather and rosy pink scale less chest flesh.  What impressed me the most was their handling characteristics.  When I had a bird in my hands it felt like a molded piece Styrofoam - light and firm.  They were more than ready to go.

I arrived in Truro in the late afternoon and spent the night with Dan and Linda Archibald.  Shortly after I arrived the birds were fed Barcelona maize and watered.  They had water in the troughs until the following morning. I was up at 4:00 am to prepare the birds for the rest of their journey to St Peter's.  The winds blew strongly all night long (25 km with gusts up to 35 km).  Dan and Laslo left for St Peter's at 4:30.  We all hoped for a morning calm and got it. 

I planned for and expected a 10 hour race but I was pleasantly disappointed.  The first group of birds arrived shortly after 3:00.  The first bird entered by Alex Crane trapped at 15:07:09 and within 10 mins 34 TTS entries had clocked.  By the end of the day 56 out of 60 entries shipped had clocked.  Congratulation to Alex for ending a very exciting and competitive series with a first.  Also congratulations to all that did well in Stage 9 and the whole series.

Note:  Seventy-four birds began racing and 53 birds completed the 9 races (2430 km - 1500 km) series on one of the toughest courses in Canada.  A total of 56 birds survived the challenge.  Moreover, there was only 1 hour and 7 minutes difference in the first 10 positions after over 40 hours of flying.

A series of photos showing the first birds arriving

        

Photos taken shortly after the first group trapped  

        

 Stage 7 Results    Sprint Results    S1 to S6 Results    Overall Results

 

 

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 to 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 have 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.

 

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