Back to July 16th
On Sunday, the day after the 200 km race, the birds only exercised for about 20 minutes. On Monday it was mostly overcast and threatening rain; however, the birds flew much better. The vast majority flew for 45 minutes and about 20 birds stayed up for another 10 minutes. Today the birds flew strongly for 45 minutes. This morning their droppings have shown a further improvement.
I forgot to mention that the birds have been on 16 hours of light since July 1st. Most birds have dropped their 5th flight and some their sixth. Body feathers are tight.. Only a few are showing any signs of molting around the head. The stress of flying the longer distances should help retard the body and wing molt.
On Wednesday the birds were let out for their exercise 8:45 and disappeared for over 15 mins and then flew strongly for 30 mins around the loft and then loafed in the air for another 15 mins. Trapping went very smoothly and quickly. Today, they once again disappeared for about 15 minutes and then flew strongly around the loft until the 50 minute mark.
The Le Tour team will be basketed tomorrow for Stage 5, a distance of 300 km from New Glasgow, NS. Weather permitting the release is planned for 7:00 am Saturday morning.
August 7th to 13th
Sunday - Most of the day birds were back to normal. Ironically some of the first drop birds were suffering more than the later arrivals. It will be interesting to see what the results will be from the next race.
Monday - The team was out for the first time after the last race. They exercised well for 30 mins.
Tuesday - The temperature was predicted to go up to 32 C today. The forecasters were close; by mid afternoon the thermometer read 33 C. The birds were let out for their exercise period at 8:50 am. I think they sensed that it would be a hot day so they were not too anxious to fly. The temperature rose quickly to 27 C while they exercised. A little flagging kept them up for 50 mins.
Wednesday - It was not as hot today but the temperature did go up to 30 C with high humidity. Most birds exercised well for 40 minutes. A group of about a third of the team stayed up for another 10 minutes.
Thursday - What a difference a day makes. We had the worst thundershowers of the year throughout most of the night. We desperately needed the rain and as the old saying goes, "it cleaned the air". This morning it was mostly sunny, cool and windy. The vast majority of birds exercised very well for 50 minutes. It was obvious by watching them flying they enjoyed the change of temperature as much as I did. The perches have not been cleaned since the last race and by the looks of the droppings the birds will be ready to race Saturday. The present forecast (1:00 pm) for Antigonish is for variable cloudiness at the release area and cool in the morning and throughout New Brunswick it is for a mix of sun and clouds with a 30% chance of showers which is the normal daily forecast.
Friday - Stage 6 (350 km) has been postponed due to unfavorable weather at the release point. From the present forecast a Sunday release is a possibility.
The birds were let out at 7:30 for their morning exercise. It was a sunny cool morning with moderate winds. The Le Tour team immediately disappeared and returned 30 minutes later, circled the yard quite high and disappeared again. In the next 60 minutes they did this repeatedly. Then around the 80 minute mark they started circling the loft. The first bird came down at the 87 minute mark and the rest followed shortly. To my surprise, the birds trapped very well considering they were overfed last night.
Yesterday evening after 8:00, I fed the birds their last portion in the roosting area and closed them in for the night. My practice is to feed them an extra portion the night before basketing and all they want the morning of basketing. I usually begin basketing around 9:00 and try to leave for the release site in the late morning. For the last 4 races the birds are in the basket around 22 hours and water filled drinkers are always available for them.
This morning I took the opportunity to handle quite a few of the birds. None of the ones I handled had any grain in their crops. As well, yesterday I handled quite a few and all the throats were pink and clear, breasts had not scales and many were very pink. Some are showing signs of molting around the head but just slightly. Cover feathers are still quite tight to the body.
Sharing the Spoils - Last week I took this photo a couple of days before the race. A blue cock decided to stay out after exercise period and go under the late bred and spare hens loft and look for some grain. It has a wire floor and often some grain falls through. The blue cock was shortly joined by a chipmunk. The photo is not very clear because I had to take it from a distance because the chipmunk would run away every time I tried to get closer.
August 15th to 27th
Tuesday - The team was out for the first time after the last race. Except for a few birds, the team exercised well for 20 mins. Three more birds arrived today CU 23210, CU 23212 & ORI 05.
Wednesday - Fall type weather is starting to move into the Maritimes. Even though it has been sunny and the daytime temperatures have reached the low 20's the night time temperatures have been nipping the single digits. One more bird MIRPC 39 arrived today. The birds exercised well for 30 minutes. Some of the late birds are still struggling from last weekends ordeal. The early arrivals are looking better every day and are becoming quite active and lively in the loft.
Thursday - It was a sunny cool morning however daytime temperatures rose into the low 20's and it was a very pleasant day - no humidity. The birds exercised well for 30 minutes.
Saturday - It was a very cool morning. When I checked the thermometer at 6:30 am it read 5 C. It warmed up considerably by dinner time and it turn out to be a pleasant but overcast day. The birds were exercised this morning at 8:00 and flew well for 30 minutes.
Sunday - Today it was overcast, warm and humid. The birds were let out for their exercise at 9:00 and flew well for 45 minutes. CU 18730 returned today.
Monday - It was a beautiful cloudless morning. The birds were let out to exercise at 8:00 am and flew well for 45 minutes.
Tuesday - The Le Tour team was exercised this morning for the last time before Stage 7 from the Canso Causeway a distance of 400 km. It was an overcast morning with thick fog until after 9:00 am. The birds were let out for their exercise period at 9:50 and most flew well in a light shower for 50 minutes. A group of 30 landed at the time and the rest flew for another 15 minutes. Euro 1543 & Euro 1575 returned.
Stage 7 is tentatively scheduled for Thursday weather permitting. The latest Environment Canada forecast (2:00 pm 23/08/05) for the release point is for a mix of sun of cloud with a few showers beginning in the afternoon. The prediction for the rest of Nova Scotia is for a mix of sun and cloud with a 30% chance of showers which is a standard daily forecast for the Maritime Provinces. The general forecast for New Brunswick is a mix of sun and cloud and no prediction for rain. The Weather Network forecast is similar but they are forecasting 25 km headwinds at the release point.
Stage 7 has been postponed until Friday due to an unfavorable forecast. Newest forecast (9:00 pm 23/08/05) for Thursday is for showers throughout the course.
Payout to Stage 6 has been updated
August 28th to September 3rd
The Le Tour Team was exercised on Sunday, Monday & Tuesday. They were kept in on Wednesday due to fog and continual rain.
Thursday - Most birds exercise for 30 minutes.
Friday - Most birds flew for 30 minutes and about 20 exercise for 10 minutes more. CU 9706 (LAL), Reg 864 & WPG 10821 arrived home today.
Saturday - The Le Tour team exercised well for 50 minutes today. They will be basketed tomorrow for the trip to the release point in Glace Bay a distance of 500 km straight across the Gulf of St Laurence or a good 600 km along the coastline. They will be released Monday at 7:00 am if the predictions holds, that is a mix of sun and cloud and north winds of 15 km/h. Good luck to everyone .
The first 62 birds on the Overall Results page are being shipped tomorrow.
The Long Standings for S6 & S7 have been upload. Long Standings
Payout to Stage 7 has been updated