July 11 - 17
The birds were released from 15 km at 8:50 in smash weather. It was dead calm, warm with high humidity, not a cloud in the sky and no song birds chirping except for a few squawking crows. A group of almost 150 birds arrived just before 9:30 and by 9:41 there were 148 birds in the loft. By dinner 157 trapped.
The weather was similar to yesterday but hotter and hazier. At noon the thermometer on the north side of the house read 31 C.
The birds were released at 8:40 from 25 km and were back shortly after I arrived. Two dropped immediately and trapped right away and the rest followed after a few short circles. Trapping went very smoothly - 109 birds trapped in the first 3 minutes. No hawk. Now this is fun. Hope it lasts.
Summary: first bird trapped at 9:12:41, 146 birds trapped by 9:19, by dinner 152 returned and by mid afternoon 154 birds were home.
The Le Tour team was released from a distance of 45 km at 8:00 in mostly sunny skies and with a slight SW wind blowing. One bird arrived at 9:05 to be followed by 3 more at 9:24, 9:25 and 9:28. By this time the wind became quite brisk and still from the SW. The main group of 142 birds arrived 9:50 and within 3 minutes all had trapped. By dinner time 149 birds had reached home.
Three out of the four early arrivals could be considered as infrequent fliers and struggled to keep up with the rest during earlier training tosses. This is very interesting. I will let you come to your own conclusion.
The birds were released at 8:00 from the same spot as yesterday - 45 km. It was mostly cloudy with a few small blue patches of sky visible and only a bright spot through the clouds could be seen where the sun should have been. A slight breeze was blowing from the SW. Within 2 minutes of the birds release the sun appeared for a few minutes. By this time the birds were well off on their way home.
At 8:29 while driving through Bathurst the birds crossed the highway from the east at about the 40 km mark and headed directly west for home. This is the first time that I have spotted the birds on route home. I always suspected that they followed the highway north to Bathurst and then turned west for home less than 15 km away.
At about 8:41 as I approached home on the main highway I could see the birds towards the south circling high above the loft less 3 km away. When I reached the yard about 50 birds had landed and the rest were circling as if waiting for me to call them in. The first bird trapped at 8:45:01 and 153 birds trapped by 8:52:51. One arrived later in the afternoon.
Because of an unfavorable weather prediction for the next few days, the next training flight from 75 km will probably be postponed to at least Sunday. Grrrr!
The inventory list has been updated. Click on Overall Results 2004.
Showers with the risk of a thundershower. Amount 10 mm. Wind east
20 km/h. High 18. UV index 3 or moderate.
Friday .. Periods of rain. Low 15. High 21.
Saturday .. Rain. Low 15. High 21.
Sunday .. Cloudy. 60 percent chance of showers. Low 14. High 24.
The birds did a funny thing this morning. The weather was too bad for a training toss so I decided to let them out and introduce them back to some flying around the loft. It was a mad dash for the door as soon as I opened it. This was the first time they were so anxious to get out. All but 5 went up to fly. The birds made a few circles around the loft and disappeared in heavy overcast skies. They acted as if they were just let out of the basket and in a rush to get home. A drizzling rain began to fall shortly after they disappeared. Needless to say their behavior was of some concern. Then all of a sudden 20 minutes later they appeared out of nowhere, made one circle and landed. They were in no rush to trap. Most of them sat on the roof preening themselves in the light warm rain.
I missed an opportunity for a training flight today. Instead the team was exercised around the loft. The weather was considerably better than predicted. In the early morning the skies were mostly cloudy with some blue patches visible. As the day went on it was an equal mixture of clouds and blue sky.
The birds were flagged this morning to discourage the infrequent flyers from landing and bringing down the others. I was somewhat successful because only 4 refused to fly. At the 50 minute mark the flag was brought down and 2/3 of the birds landed. The rest kept on flying to the 60 minute mark and when they started to land a harmless sparrow hawk flew by and scared them off for 10 more minutes.
The weather looks favorable for a 70 km toss tomorrow.
The birds received their first training toss from 70 km. It was mostly cloudy with the occasional sunny break. The birds were released at 8:30 during one of these breaks which became permanent all the way home. At the 70 minute mark 5 birds arrived and trapped immediately. If you guessed they were mostly infrequent flyers you are right because 3 were. Thirty minutes later the rest arrived and trapped without incident.
Goto July 18th