Kouchibouguac 1, July
26th - 107 km
I left home at 7:00 for the release point it was mostly sunny. I
was in no rush
because I expected to run into fog;
unfortunately, I was right. From about 40 km south of Bathurst to
just south of Miramichi River it was foggy all the way. From there
to Kouchibouguac there was less fog and it was overcast with low clouds.
arrived at the release point at 8:25 and immediately took the birds out
of the truck. As usual the drinkers were
attached to the baskets and filled. Only a few birds chose to
drink. It was completely overcast with some lingering high fog.
At 9:00 I released the racers from a baseball field going into the park.
The birds circled low several times. Actually they circled the
baseball backstop 3 times before they rose higher. I have been
releasing birds from this point for over 10 years and it is the first
time I've seen that. Once they circled a spruce behind the release
area just like going around a merry-go-round.
watched them circle to
the south in a tight kit for about 10 minutes before they disappeared.
Once again they seemed confused and gave me the impression that they had
no clue of what was expected of them. They would make some small
circles then suddenly dart off to make small circles again. At
least they were doing this to the north of me which was some
consolation. A minute before they disappeared a small patch of
blue sky faintly appeared above me and almost simultaneously the sun
came out briefly. The sun's appearance seemed to draw the birds
back to the release area. They flew back and made an abrupt turn
above me and then flew off over the trees in the general direction of
When I reached the main road and turned north on the main highway for
home the birds crossed the road about a kilometer ahead of me.
the Miramichi River the sky was overcast with bright clouds and the
visibility was very good considering the cloud cover. However,
just as I crossed the Miramichi Bridge
a solid bank of fog appeared. It
had to be at least 30 km deep and the visibility was about a half
kilometer most of the way. At the 40 km release point the fog
disappeared and bright clouds appeared. As I drove along the
clouds thinned and more sunny breaks occurred. When I reached home
it was mostly sunny, hot and very humid (26 C in the shade).
expected a long day but I was wrong and very pleased about being wrong.
A large group of birds arrived at about 11:30, hardly circled, landed
and trapped immediately. The first bird trapped at 11:32:22 and
within 2 minutes 93 ebanded birds out of 103 shipped went through the
clock. I did not count my 20 odd 3rd round youngsters that just
plastic bands. The team was thirsty but only a few looked
tired; the rest chased me around the loft looking for more food. I
only gave them ½ portion when they arrived. They received the
balance and hour later. One more bird arrived at 12:30 and a few
more reached home later in the day.
Yesterday I found out that the Le Tour team will fly through rain;
today I found out that they will fly through fog. These were 2
difficult tosses with good results and this experience will be useful
for the birds because if the summer continues like it has been they will
see more of this type of weather.
mentioned in the diary on July 23rd Margie and I are leaving Friday
morning for Halifax to our son's wedding. We will be back Sunday
night and the birds will be kept in and cared for by a neighbor until
then. The plan is to loft fly them Monday and fly the 2nd
Kouchibouguac Tuesday. Then a couple days later they will fly from
Kouchibouguac 2, August 1st - 107 km
The second Kouchibouguac race was flown this morning in perfect weather
and with very good results.
arrived at the release point there were some clouds but they were
leaving. After being released the birds made a few circles to kit
and then quickly disappeared towards the west over the trees surrounding
the baseball feed. This is also the direction towards the main
highway going home. They avoided the backstop this morning.
The route home was virtually cloudless; it was calm and the temperature
was 13 C at a 7:40 release time. Shortly after I drove in my
driveway one group arrived just before 9:27 and a few seconds later the
second group arrived to be followed somewhat later by a small group of
10 birds. Five birds arrived early next morning. The first
race from Moncton is scheduled for Thursday, August 3rd.
Moncton 1, August
The first Moncton race was flown this morning with good results and in
The birds were basketed the night
before on an "iffy" forecast. At 5:00 am this morning I checked
the weather for Moncton and it was raining with the vague prediction of
clearing in the morning.
After the first coffee took its
effect I realized that to get the most immediate accurate weather is to
use the radio. I got hooked up to high speed last December and
this morning it became very useful. I found an excellent station
in Moncton and at about 5:20 one of the announcers mentioned it was
raining. It's a Classic Rock station which is my type of music so
I kept listen while surfing. At 7:30 the announcer mentioned the
weather again and that it was to clearing up this morning and most
importantly that he could see a blue patch of sky. I was gone in a
birds were released at 10:00 am in a mostly bright overcast sky, in 20 C
and no wind conditions. Towards the north I could see a huge patch
of blue sky. The birds were quite restless as I waited about 20
minutes for 10:00. The drinkers were attached to the baskets but I
noticed only a couple taking a small drink. When the team was
released they made a couple of low circles above, kitted and immediately
headed for home. I apologize for the first 2 release photos - I
forgot I had the zoom on.
of the way home was under sunny skies and very calm conditions.
group of birds appeared just before dinner, circled behind the loft,
landed and trapped immediately. When they arrived it was 26 C and
they were quite thirsty. The others followed in small groups and
singles until nightfall. Some of the later birds circled quite a few
times and appeared to be nervous after landing. I could hear a
shrill bird sound to the north east of the loft. Goshawk???
The next Moncton race is scheduled for Sunday.
Moncton 2, August 6th - 182 km
The second Moncton race was flown this morning with good results.
At 8:45 I arrived at the release
point, unloaded the birds quickly and filled the drinkers with water.
The Le Tour team was released at 9:15 into nothing but blue sky, endless
visibility and with a brisk wind blowing out of the west. After
being released the birds quickly kitted and disappeared over a group of
houses in the direction of home.
The first group of about 50 birds appeared out of the south slightly
after 12:00, made a half circle, dropped to the loft and trapped
immediately. The temperature at the time was 24 C and the wind was
from the west at 22 km/h and gusting to 33 km/h. The last photo is
of the birds waiting patiently for dinner. They were fed all they
could eat. If you look closely you will see that the 2nd three
hour flight in 3 days had no more impact on most of the birds than a 60
minute exercise period around the loft. I handled a sampling of
birds the following morning and was quite impressed. More details
at the August Diary.
How young can you start training youngsters?
Mike Van der Jagt shipped me a pair of grizzle
youngsters ORI 224 & 225 on June 23rd to be tested. They hatched
on May 24, the same day as Queen Victoria. When I received them I
had some doubts. The first time they were out, both youngsters
stayed out all day and eventually one found its way in late the first
day and the other one somewhere around mid-day of the second day.
Both birds missed several of the first training tosses because I thought
they were too young to be trained. When I noticed them flying
strongly around the loft for an hour with the rest I quickly changed my
mind. My opinion is if youngsters can fly around the loft easily
for an hour they can probably fly many more hours on the road (Remind me
to tell you a story about a pair of smoky blue youngsters later).
The first photo is of both birds. It was taken
a few minutes after the first group arrived . ORI 224 is in the
background and 225 is in the foreground. The second photo is of
As you know by now this is the record of ORI 224.
His nest mate ORI 225 was 2nd in the last race. Note that 224 only
dropped his 1st flight after the first Moncton Race and 225 has yet to
drop its 1st flight.
Van der Jagt, M
I called Mike after I read the times off the
clock to inform him and to get some information on the youngsters.
The sire of 224 and 225 is 00-CU-ORI-243. He
is 4 X 1st UNC and 8 times in the top 7. His sire is
92-AU-H-1048. I purchased a 9 bird kit of Bandits in 1992 from
Chic Brooks (Hapyco Lofts)
of Fresno California and raced them. 1048 was one of those 9.
He won a combine in Guelph and went on to become my foundation sire.
All 9 of the bandits in the kit were grand children of the White
The dam of 224 and 225 is 2001-AU-CBS-1774 a
Maximizer hen that I purchased from Rick Mardis (Continental
Breeding Station). I also raced her. She did not win a
race but won several positions from Hearst, Longlac and Moosonee. You
have pictures of the eyes of both 243 and 1774.
Needless to say Mike was thrilled about the
performance of these 2 late youngsters and said he will try to wear his
"yellow" shirt humbly.
I will upload the eyes of 243 and 1774 tomorrow.
The Answer to my question is:
"Quite young if the quality is there."
Truro 1, August 13th - 315 km
This morning it felt like fall was arriving early.
The Le Tour birds were released at 7:00 am from 315 km. At the
release point the temperature was in the high single digits, calm and
with a mixture of sun and cloud. When the birds left the baskets
they disappeared quickly in the direction of home.
The trip home through most of Nova Scotia was under cloudless skies
however once I crossed the border into New Brunswick it began to cloud
over. From Moncton on I drove under mostly cloudy skies with
frequent blue patches. At 12:00 the Bathurst weather station
reported winds from the WNW at 15 km and gusts to 32 km. The
temperature was a cool 15 C.
I arrived home at 12:30 and because the shutters on 2 middle windows
were closed all I could see from the outside was a couple of birds
sitting next to the window on the right side. I just assumed they
were my 3rd round youngsters that were released in Moncton on Saturday.
To my pleasant surprise this what I saw. I left the trays with
feed in them before I left Saturday. The first group ate
everything as soon as they arrived and were waiting for me to give them
The first bird of the group of 30 that arrived before dinner trapped at
11:58:26. The 2nd group of 7 birds arrived about 20
minutes later to be followed by smaller groups and singles. By the
end of the day 57 birds clocked out of 60 shipped.
Addendum: To be precise
the birds were released a few kilometers west of
Truro, NS and just off the Onslow road at the site of Dan
Archibald's 14 acre lot. Dan plans to build a new home here next
year. The preliminary landscaping has begun. His decision to
build a new home on this acreage had nothing to do with keeping racing
pigeons. Ha! His wife Linda is excited as he is about their
project. Dan is 3rd from the left in the second photo. Laslo
Toth who is in short sleeves will be his neighbor. He lives a few
kilometers from here. Carlyle Smith from Fall River near Halifax is
wearing the dark blue sweatshirt.
The next race from Truro is scheduled for August 19th
or 20th weather permitting.
August 13th Sunset 20:40:00
August 14th Sunrise 6:16:00
Truro 2, August 22nd - 315 km
At 6:00 am it was
raining so the birds were released at 8:00. The temperature
was in the mid teens, it was mostly cloudy but clearing quickly and the
wind conditions were calm. The birds left the area almost immediately
for home. The skies cleared within an hour and most of the way
home was under sunny conditions with the temperature in high teens.
At New Brunswick border there was a slight helping wind and as I
progressed north the wind became more westerly. At home the wind
was slight from the northwest. At arrival the temperature was in
The first group of birds appeared over the
trees from the southeast and trapped quickly.
you will notice from the photos (taken within 5 minutes of arrival) the
first group didn't look any worse for wear than they would look after a
morning exercise period. I was very surprised that none of the
first group were overly thirsty or hungry. This suggests that they
are drinking well and eating in the basket. For both Truro races
the birds spent 2 nights in the basket. I would also like to think
that this suggests that they are in good form. The next race is
from Antigonish and tentatively scheduled for August 29th.
Antigonish, August 30th - 370 km
It was a tough day but that is the purpose of the Le Tour Testing
Station – to find the pigeons that have the right stuff. Today
began that process.
At 6:00 am it was very overcast so the release was postponed from 7:00
to 8:00. I called Dan Archibald at 7:00 in Truro (over an hour
drive away) and he told me that it was sunny and a beautiful morning
there. When I got home I called Donna Gavel and she told me that
shortly after the release it cleared and it was a beautiful day.
Just before 8:00 I could see blue sky just over the horizon towards the
northwest. Ninety-two ebanded birds were released at 8:00 about 15
km south of Antigonish. It was overcast with a slight headwind.
After leaving the baskets, the birds circled to the south before they
disappeared over the trees. That was in the wrong direction but as
they disappeared it seemed as if the were beginning to fly towards the
west. Within a 20 km drive on the way home from the release point
the skies cleared and it was mostly sunny throughout Nova Scotia and it
was a mixture of sun and cloud throughout southern New Brunswick.
But from Kouchibouguac to the Bathurst City limits it rained and
showered intermittently. My wind shield wipers had to be on during
this part of the trip and a couple of times they were cranked up to high
speed. Wind was not a factor either way throughout the course.
I reached home at 2:30 and there were no birds home and of course it was
mostly sunny in Rosehill.
It was mostly sunny at the loft from about 2:00 until nightfall.
The first group of Testing Station birds arrived just before 4:30.
They were more than damp. Birds straggled in for the rest of the
day in small groups and singles. No doubt, today began the
process of looking for the pigeons with the right stuff.
Forty-four birds reached home on the day. By the 3rd day there
were 60 ebanded birds in the loft which included my own team.
There will be another race.
photo was taken at 2:30 of my yellow banded 3rd round. They were
released in Truro at 7:45 and were still damp so I suspect they flew 6
Photos compliments of Richard Schoder
Addendum: I arrived at Ken and Donna
Gavel's at 4:00 pm on Tuesday. It was a long drive but well worth
it. It was their 35 anniversary. I was treated to a Chinese
food supper with the appropriate refreshments. We spent the
evening reminiscing and telling stories. Richard Schoder joined us
later that even.
The next morning Judy and Richard treated me to hardy
breakfast before the release. They always make me feel very
welcome and look forward to seeing the release of the birds from their
property. The release point is on their acreage and one of the
highest points in the area.
St Peter's is on Cape Breton Island around the south west shore of the
Bras d'Or Lakes at a point where the lakes appear to open to the Atlantic
Ocean. Also it is about 40 km as the crow flies from Port Hawkesbury
which is just across the
This point was chosen because it is an easier access to
the Canso Causeway. From Glace Bay if the birds fly in the direction
of home they will probably hit a point around Margaree Harbour and then
what do they do??? According to Google Earth the coastline is almost
perpendicular to home. Flying either way along the coastline is unnatural
for them to do. Actually it is about 300 km over water from this
point on the way home. I believe that some birds will choose to fly
up shore and others down shore to the causeway. This is what
probably happened last year because a bird was reported in NFLD.
How many others did is an interesting question. Others, somewhere
along the coastline headed for PEI. I suspect this because a handful
arrived home with red sand on their bands and feet. One year a late
bird arrived with red sand all over it's feathers. I guess it
stopped to enjoy the red sandy beaches of PEI and had a bath.
However it is possible for the birds to fly this route
from Glace Bay as they have proven many times before. Including 9 Le
Tour races and 2 training tosses with my flock it has been done 11
consecutive times in 10 years.
St Peter's #1 on Cape Breton Island,
Sept 7th - 450 km
The Le Tour Team was released this morning at 7:30 am in St Peter's.
Carlyle Smith who released the birds reported that at 7:15, “it is
text book morning – sunny, calm and the song birds could be heard
At that time I was in Truro about 190 km SW of the release point and it
was overcast with a low ceiling. A communication tower on a nearby
hill was covered by fog like clouds. I released my 3rd round at
8:00 am. At 5:00 none were home. Well after supper 15 out of
19 birds released were in the loft flying 10 hours and more.
On my way home, about one quarter of the way to the NB border, it began
to rain in quite foggy conditions with a low ceiling. It remained
that way for about 30 km and then the rain stopped and the conditions
were overcast, bright with a high ceiling. As I crossed the NB
border it began to clear and the winds were not a factor. When I
passed Moncton the skies were almost cloudless and remained that way all
the way home (1:30). I called Dan Archibald at around 10:00 and he
reported the conditions were the same as this morning and they were the
same on PEI. Bathurst Airport reported a west wind of 18 km at
1:00 and the winds in Moncton and the Miramichi were about half that
group of 13 birds arrived just before 4:00. Eight were nominated
Testing Station birds. For the rest of the day birds arrived in
singles, doubles and small groups. A total of 28 birds arrived by
night fall of which 16 were Testing Station birds. By the second
day 47 birds clocked in race time of the 63 birds shipped. As of
Sunday night there are 52 ebanded birds in the loft.
7th - Sunset 19:53
Sept 8th - Sunrise 6:50 & Sunset 19:51
The last race is scheduled for Sept 18th from St
See Nelson Paw’s map.
St Peter's #2 on Cape Breton Island,
Sept 17th - 450 km
The Le Tour Team, 57 in total including my flock, was released at 8:00
am in St. Peter’s (450 km) by Dan Archibald & Laslo Toth. They
left Truro this morning at 5:00 and arrived at the release point
shortly after 7:00. Dan drove through fog around Antigonish and
when he arrived at the release point there was some fog but it was
clearing quickly. By 8:00 the fog cleared, the sky was almost
cloudless, it was calm and the temperature was in the low mid teens.
The birds were watered before being released and drank well.
Shortly after being released the birds headed in a northerly direction
for home. On the way home as Dan and Laslo approached the Canso
Causeway they ran into fog again. It lasted until they passed
I experienced similar weather conditions in Truro that morning.
The heavy fog did not lift until 8:00. I released my yellow
banded 3rd round at 8:30 and they arrived home at 12:45 in
one group. I released Laslo’s, Dan’s and Carlyle’s birds in Moncton
in perfect weather at 10:45. They reported good and quick
returns. The day remained mostly sunny in most of New Brunswick and
the wind was not going to be a factor either way.
Just before 5:00 and almost 9 hours after being released 17 birds
arrived and trapped immediately. One came in a couple of minutes
later. They looked really tired and as if they flew through
There is a steady drizzling rain that has been falling since last
night and the visibility remains poor. The following morning six
more birds arrived and very wet. The weather was predicted to stay the
same for a few days. There are 19 out of 32 TTS birds shipped
home so the race will be closed today.
Sept 17th - Sunset 19:32
Sept 18th - Sunrise 7:03, Sunset
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