Stage 8 was flown today.
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.
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.
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.
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.
is tentatively schedule for sometimes next midweek.