On this past Friday, Saturday and
Sunday the temperatures throughout New Brunswick were hovering around 30
C with humidex values of 35 C. The temperatures were similar throughout
Nova Scotia. Needless to say, racing on these days was probably not
advisable. Instead the Le Tour Team was exercised around the loft. On
these 3 consecutive mornings the team exercised 75, 60 and 95 minutes
without being flagged. Except for some molting conditions the birds
never looked better. I decided then it was time for the next race.
Stage 7 was tentatively scheduled
for Tuesday August 26th. On Sunday the weather prediction
for a Tuesday race from St Peter’s (450 km) was a bit “iffy” and there
was only a 2 day window before more rain was predicted. Carlyle Smith
was responsible for the release and he was prepared to hold the birds
over for several days if he had to. On Monday evening the prediction
for the release point had worsened considerably.
Carlyle made plans to spend the
night in Antigonish and weather permitting he would travel to St.
Peter’s in the morning for the release. At 5:30 Tuesday morning the
prediction had worsened further in St Peter’s for the day and the
following day. At that time it was mostly clear in Truro. I
phoned Carlyle and he said that it rained all night and it was heavily
overcast at 6:00 am. We made the decision to release the birds at 8:00
am in Antigonish if it was not raining.
Carlyle’s description of the release:
The hills East of
Antigonish distorted the solid mass of low dark clouds that were briskly
moving from the West. This opened the sky up and the town of Antigonish
itself was bathed in 50% sun while all around was solid low foreboding
dark cloud. I held the birds for one hour, thinking I was watching the
cover burn off but by 8:30 the opening in the clouds and the general
cloud mass, although moving quite fast, had not changed appearance.
So the birds were released at 8:30 AM Tuesday from St Francis Xavier
University in Antigonish (St FX). They immediately headed in a NW
Direction (home) but did circle briefly as they encountered the
Northumberland Strait, at which time they disappeared from my view.
appears the birds had a rather ideal day with brisk head winds and a
mostly broken sky once they got closer to NB.
It is a very good
thing that we released when and where we did, as the day remained dark
and heavy for the morning and Wednesday was nothing but heavy steady
way home from Truro all I encountered was favorable weather except for
the brisk headwinds. The skies were an equal mixture of sun and cloud
and temperatures were in the high teens. I encountered a brief shower
when I entered the Bathurst City limits. At the loft there were a few
brief showers but of no consequence. However a bird arrived in the
early afternoon from the last race and it was wet.
arrived home around 2:30 and didn’t have to wait long for the first
birds to arrive. Shortly after 3:30, there was a drop of 12 birds
flying 7 ½ hours into a headwind.
Then another drop of about 10 birds arrived 15 minutes later. Around
4:00 a group of 5 birds arrived. By 5:30 there were 32 birds in the
clock and one solo bird arrived
in the evening. The following day 8 more birds reached home in race
time for a total of 41 birds out of 49 shipped (83.7%).
Joe Erwin had another great day
scoring 1st, 2nd, 4th and 10th. The other participants in the top
10 were: Stan Gawel 3rd, Bjorn Bjornson 5th, Cal Murray 6th, Tom &
Anne Marie Spring 7th & 8th and
Hardeep Sahota 9th.
Joe Erwin is now the Overall
leader. He holds 1st, 3rd, 5th & 6th. The rest of the top 10
are: Bjorn Bjornson 2nd, Cal Murray 4th & 9th, Ken Gavel 7th, Dan
Archibald 8th and Tom & Anne Marie
Congratulations go out to all that
final stage (S8) is tentatively schedule for next weekend.
Stage 7 Results