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Diary Calendar

July 16 to 31

Back to July 1st

July 16th

The birds were released this morning at 9:00 am for their second time from 40 km.  The weather was ideal with cloudless skies, cool temperatures and a brisk headwind.  The birds arrived home and almost all had trapped before I arrived.  There were only 2 sitting on the roof trying to decide what to do.  I thought, "if you wait too long to trap, the hawk might help you make your decision and I hope you are quick enough to make it".  When I went in to feed the birds, 134 had trapped and then 3 more arrived and trapped immediately.   The first bird trapped at 9:37:33 and all 141 birds were accounted for by 10:30.  Tomorrow's toss will be from 70 km.

The first 20 birds trapped in the following order:

1 WCW 5534 Wieland, B 9:37:33
2 EDM 611 Zacharias, R 9:37:34
3 MISS 7514 Monardo, S 9:37:36
4 CUQC 50316  Chouinard, G 9:37:39
5 OAK 5615 Lyon, G 9:37:41
6 WPG 10804 Martens, C 9:37:42
7 CU 04847 Kirkwood, D 9:37:43
8 WPG 11532 Singer, H 9:37:44
9 CU 28705 Greer/Schwartz  9:37:45
10 NC INV 565 Horner Family 9:37:46
11 ORI 030 Robertson, B 9:37:47
12 STAN 256 Gawel, S 9:37:48
13 MISS 7668 King, F 9:37:50
14 CUQC 50910 L'Archeveque 9:37:50
15 CU 18730 Smith, C 9:37:51
16 CU 03700 Lyon, G 9:37:53
17 MP 912 Naylor, D 9:37:55
18 WPG 10821 Martens, C 9:37:55
19 O&L 10485 DeVries, O 9:37:57
20 CU 09898 Gavel, K & D 9:37:58

July 17th

This morning when I left for the Miramichi (70 km) at 6:30 clouds and a high fog covered Rosehill but the sun's outline was clearly visible.  The fog persisted 1/3 of the way to the release point; however, the sun was working hard to burn off the fog.  At the release point which is about 5 km north of the Miramichi River, it was sunny with a high patchy thin layer of clouds.  It was extremely calm; not a leaf moved on any branch.  The temperature was in the high teens but the predicted high for the day was for 31 C.  It was one of those days that I always worry about.

The birds were extremely restless in the baskets.  After about a 20 minute wait they were released at 7:50 and without circling headed due west along the tree line then made a sharp turn south towards the Miramichi River and disappeared over the trees.  This is in the opposite direction to home.  Oh! oh!  I thought.  I didn't see them after that.

When I approached about 10 km outside of Bathurst, I had to drive through a thick bank of fog for about 5 km.  But as I was passing the city there was no fog but mostly low clouds and I could see the sun shine on the paper mill's smoke stacks as they spewed whatever they spew into the atmosphere.  An interesting scenario I thought.

The last stretch of road home to Rosehill was mostly sunny but about 5 km to the south the visibility stopped because of the fog.  It was extremely calm;  flags at the airport hung sadly.  Of course, as I drove into the yard shortly after 9:00 it was sunny in Rosehill.

No birds were home when I arrived but that was to be expected.  The question was, "when would they arrive"?  The question was answered at 9:16 when I was mixing the feed for the stock birds.  I saw a shadow through the window and when I stepped out of the loft, what appeared to be most of the birds began descending down to the loft from the south.  Trapping went extremely well.  The first bird timed at 9:16:19 and the 131st at  9:19:01  By 10:00 am 134 birds had reached home.

Needless to say, I was relieved that this training toss was over.  Mike V always tells me that that I worry too much and overreact for no good reason.  He's right again.

If the weather forecast does not worsen for tomorrow, the last 70 km training flight will be held and the 1st race of the Le Tour series will be flown  from Kouchibouguac (110 km) several days after or whenever weather permits.

The first 20 birds trapped in the following order:

1 CUQC 50316 Chouinard, G 9:16:19
2 SLND 1621 Sanders, H 9:16:20
3 CU 11928 Plews, Gordon 9:16:24
4 AU JX 7826 Shrader, G 9:16:27
5 OSH 3452 Mattacchione, S 9:16:27
6 Reg 652 Hannant, R 9:16:29
7 SL 391 Sahota & Bjorn 9:16:30
8 CU 23241 Schroder, R 9:16:31
9 CU 14143 Smith, Jim 9:16:32
10 SG 191 Gawel, S 9:16:32
11 WCW 5534 Wieland, B 9:16:33
12 Reg 402 Gilewicz, M 9:16:34
13 AU JX 7827 Shrader, G 9:16:35
14 EDM 611 Zacharias, R 9:16:40
15 CU 30101 Alves/Ganus 9:16:44
16 CU 09898 Gavel, Ken 9:16:46
17 CU 24564  Harvey, Ryan 9:16:47
18 Pifers 0623 Cielos Family  9:16:51
19 CU 03700 Lyon, G 9:16:52
20 CU 09889 Ball, Kevin 9:16:52

July 18th (updated 2:00 pm)

Thank God for technology and the electronic clock.  When I arrived home at 8:57 I immediately noticed a few birds on the roof and many in the windows of the loft.

The birds were released from the 70 km this morning at 7:55 in hazy skies, a light breeze and 19 C.  They were considerably less restless in the baskets than they were yesterday.  Upon release the birds looked confused.  They made a few short low circles above the hay field less then 100 m from me and then slowly drifted in a westerly direction about 300 m and kept circling low just above the trees.  They stayed low and kept on drifting towards the west and eventually disappearing over the trees.  By 8:59:34 one hundred thirty - four birds clocked and one more arrived after 10:00.

All I can say is this group is as good as I've had and maybe the best.  Sydney will tell us if my assessment is correct.   The Le Tour team is ready for Stage 1 from Kouchibouguac Park (110km) which will be flown in 2 days weather permitting.

The first 50 birds trapped in the following order:

1 CUQC 50213 Gascon, C 8:49:09
2 SG 191 Gawel, S 8:49:11
3 OAK 5615 Lyon, G 8:49:13
4 CU 11928 Plews, Gordon 8:49:15
5 EURO 1543 Toth, P 8:49:15
6 CUQC 50207 Gascon, C 8:49:17
7 CU 09898 Gavel, K & D 8:49:18
8 AU JX 7823 Shrader, G 8:49:20
9 CUQC 50316  Chouinard, G 8:49:21
10 AU JX 7824 Shrader, G 8:49:22
11 SURREY 254 Paw, N 8:49:24
12 CU 23212 Gavel, K & D 8:49:27
13 MISS 7514 Monardo, S 8:49:29
14 CU 23204  Sangster, J 8:49:31
15 CU 09287 Archibald, M 8:49:33
16 CU 00016 Murray, C  8:49:34
17 IND  51782 Percival, B 8:49:35
18 ORI 030 Robertson, B 8:49:36
19 REG 652 Hannant, R 8:49:39
20 VIC 422 Stephen, A 8:49:41
21 Reg 402 Gilewicz, M 8:49:43
22 STAN 256 Gawel, S 8:49:45
23 OAK 5909 Lyon, G 8:49:46
24 TBay 0379 Crane, A 8:49:49
25 REG 050 Stratulat, C 8:49:52
26 VIC 133 Sahota & Bjorn 8:49:52
27 EURO 1575 Toth, P 8:49:53
28 CUQC 50910 L'Archeveque 8:49:54
29 MISS 7513 Monardo, S 8:49:55
30 CENT  629 Pfiffner, G 8:49:57
31 PIFERS 0623 Cielos Family  8:49:58
32 CU 30101 Alves/Ganus 8:49:59
33 TBAY 0378 Crane, A 8:50:01
34 SL 391 Sahota & Bjorn 8:50:02
35 EMP 1591 McInnes, J 8:50:02
36 REG 867 Strayer, D 8:50:03
37 TBAY 0375 Crane, A 8:50:12
38 MP 917 Naylor, D 8:50:15
39 NC INV 565 Horner Family 8:50:16
40 CU 02582  Philippians L  8:50:17
41 HC 2035 Federation L 8:50:17
42 WPG 10804 Martens, C 8:50:20
43 AU JX 7826 Shrader, G 8:50:22
44 AU JX 7828 Shrader, G 8:50:23
45 CUQC 50204 Gascon, C 8:50:24
46 SURREY 849 Blando, R 8:50:24
47 CENT  625 Pfiffner, G 8:50:26
48 CU 29019 NIKROG Loft 8:50:26
49 CU 03700 Lyon, G 8:50:29
50 CU 20364 Madore, B 8:50:30

July 19th  (posted at 12:30 pm, update 8:00 pm)

The birds were given a bath yesterday afternoon and they thoroughly enjoyed it in the 30 C temperatures with  high humidity.  Early this morning I went to the loft and manually scanned all the race team through the electronic clock for the second time to make sure all the bands were working and that all of the birds were registered accurately.  I am a little paranoid about faulty ebands or making an error registering the birds.  I take nothing for granted because my senior moments seem to be reoccurring more frequently lately and especially during training and the approach of the first race.  Everything was in order - it must be a first for me.

It's amazing what a difference a bath makes.  When I was going through the birds this morning I found that the feather quality was excellent and the feathers clean.  The vast majority of birds were bouyant, their muscles were corky, they had excellent body weight and I was drenched in sweat .  After I finished examining the birds, I found them very energetic and active so they were released for their morning exercise at 8:50.  The thermometer at the back of the house read 27 C and the humidex value was 36 C.  As well, it was hazy with a slight breeze.  At 12:00 Bathurst was the hottest location in the Maritimes.  Rosehill being further inland is always warmer because we are less affected by the cool sea breezes.  It is not uncommon for the temperature to be several degrees higher and unfortunately in the winter the opposite is common.  Eventually the temperature reached 34 C with a humidex value in the low 40's.

When I opened all the exits the Le Tour team en masse charged for the openings as if there was a hawk in the loft.  I was momentarily in a danger zone and had to duck to avoid being hit.  The birds, as always, immediately disappeared but I expected the exercise period to be quite short because of the heat and humidity.  Only a couple remained on the roof.  When 30 minutes passed and no birds were around I was very surprised and expected them shortly.  Needless to say when 60 minutes passed I became a "little" concerned so I went into the house for a drink.  A spiked lemonade was in order however it was a little early and there was still some coffee so I chose the latter.  While in the house I looked at the outside thermometer and it read 31 C and I suspect the humidex value was 40 C.  It was 29 C in the loft.  At that point I can't remember what I was thinking but I remember sitting at my computer staring at the screen and outside through the front window.  At about the 70 minute mark I noticed a large shadow pass over the lawn.  You can imagine how I felt then.

The first bird timed at 10:13 and by 10:17, one hundred twenty - eight (128) birds had clocked.  By 10:45 there were 131 birds in the loft.  Yesterday 135 birds returned from their second 70 km training toss.

The inventory will be updated later today and replacement birds will be assigned to those participants that have lost all their birds.

Stage 1 is still tentatively scheduled for tomorrow.  The present Environment Canada forecast for the Miramichi area which is about 40 km north of Kouchibouguac is cloudy but clearing and cooler.  At home the prediction is cloudy with sunny breaks and a 40% chance of showers which is the normal daily prediction throughout the Maritimes.  I guess there is always a 40% chance of showers somewhere in the area.  The Weather Network's prediction is more positive which is also normal.  I always wondered why their predictions in the Maritimes are always more positive than Environment Canada's and I have concluded it is because they are more commercial.  If you were an optimist, where would you go for a weather forecast?  When training and racing the birds I always use the most negative weather prediction.  I have learned to do so the hard way.

Update 8:00 pm: Tomorrow's race will be postponed until Thursday due to extreme heat and high humidity.  It was still 33 C at 7:00 pm with a humidex value of 42 C.  I have no intention of putting birds in baskets overnight in this heat.  This is for the benefit of both birds and me.

Inventory has been updated July 19, 2005, 8:00 pm AST.

July 20th

This morning two more birds arrived from yesterday's exercise period.  The inventory list has been updated and the replacement birds have been added to the list.  The Overall Result page will now also be the inventory list.

Today the Le Tour team remained in the loft resting.  It was another hot day but not as hot as yesterday's.  The birds and I were relieved.

The birds remain active and healthy as pictured by their droppings.  The perches haven't been cleaned for a week.  Young birds like teenagers are always hungry.  They just can't get enough to eat.  Here they get their ounce a day which keeps them alert and reminds them were their next meal is after exercising, training and most of all racing.

 Late this evening the birds will be basketed for tomorrow's race.

July 25th

The birds were exercised Saturday and Sunday but kept in today to rest for tomorrow's race.  On both days they were quite anxious to get out and stretch their wings.  It wasn't long before the loft was empty.  Yesterday after the birds finished their exercise period most trapped immediately however a dozen had no intentions of going in.  They, apparently not hungry or thirsty, wanted to frolic in the morning sun.  Some sat on the roof, others strutted their stuff and a few had a "vanity attack" and admired themselves in the mirror.  Margie said they must be the females.

This evening when I went up into the loft the birds were all huddled at the east end and away from the west door.  I suspect the cooper made a visit earlier and perched in the tall pine next to the loft.  I closed the door and the birds became more relaxed and spread themselves throughout the rest of the loft.  I still haven't cleaned the perches.  I will do that by the end of the week.

The birds will be basketed later this evening for tomorrow's race from Moncton.  The weather looks promising except for some early morning fog so the release will probably not be until 9:00 am.

The Overall Results will now become the inventory.

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