June 9 - On Sunday the team flew for 45 minutes in a steady rain and 75%
of the birds continued flying for over an hour.
Training began today.
Eighty-five entries were basketed last
night (see OA Results) The birds were released at 8:15 just west of
the Bathurst Airport a distance of 8 km. It was a cool morning (14
C) and mostly sunny with no wind. The youngster circled the release
area for 5 minutes and disappeared over the trees to the east. At
the hour mark no birds were in sight and dark clouds were moving in.
I began to get a bit anxious because the weather was changing quickly.
It became mostly cloudy with an east wind which is sign of bad weather to
come. The first birds I saw were a group of four at 9:30.
Within seconds the rest of the team appeared. They flew around the
loft for another 20 minutes. They flew like they were cheated out of
their morning exercise period around the loft so I let the fly. As
soon as it looked like they had enough I called them down and they all
trapped within 30 seconds.
I hate the first
toss. I am glad this one is over.
July 11 - Due to rain the birds were kept home yesterday.
However they were exercised and flew strongly around the loft in a steady
A close call today. The
prediction was for early morning showers so I didn't bother basketing the
birds last night. The stars were out later in the evening so I
decided to shut the birds in the roosting section in case the weather
prediction was wrong. Overhead at 5:30 this morning there appeared
to be a thin bright layer of clouds and in the east the clouds were a
bright red/orange - "red sky in the morning sailors take warning".
Regardless of the saying I decided to basket the birds and hoped that the
predicted showers, if any, would be late in the morning. As you see
below the 5 day forecast is for rain at some time everyday. The
prediction of rain has been fairly accurate but the time of day for the
rain has been quite inaccurate. This has been the typical forecast
for the last several weeks. It could be a long summer for me and the
I think I set a world record basketing 130
birds in less than 45 minutes. You might not be impressed with this
time but basketing the birds is an arduous ordeal here. Actually I
hate this part of the sport. Catching the birds is usually easy
enough because they are shut in the roosting pens and I usually do it in
semi-darkness. Then 15 to 20 birds at a time are taken down a narrow
staircase and transferred into larger baskets in the truck. This
year it takes 7 to 10 trips depending on how many birds I take down at a
time. I usually do this the night before and to motivate me I have a
few glasses of refreshments before I start and most times also during the
basketing. The refreshments also help numb the pain of the ordeal of
walking down the narrow staircase with a basket of birds and then back up
to refill it. That's enough self pity for one day. By
the way the good part of basketing the birds manually is I get the
opportunity to handle them all more frequently. This morning I liked
what I handled.
When I left the yard I could see
blue patches of sky through the thin clouds. The birds were released
at 7:15, 8 km from home and the sun was clearly visible through the
clouds. The youngsters made a few low circles as if they were
confused and then rose quite high, made a few more circles and then
disappeared in the direction of home. I was confident they would be
home quickly. By 8:00 am the south east winds blew in threatening
clouds and I could hear thunder to the south and of course the birds were
playing with my nerves again. There was no sight of them. To
take my mind off these foolish youngsters I decided to attend to the stock
birds. I could see out the window that it was getting darker by the
minute. Finally at 8:15 I heard the thump of birds hitting the
metal roof. Trapping is not problem this year. They were all
in within 30 seconds. Just as the last bird trapped the "skies
opened up" and it poured for 15 minutes and then it turned to a steady
rain that continued for most of the morning.
I think the white dots in the 2nd photo are the reflections from the
drops of rain. It was quite dark so the camera's flash was going
off. At first glance the dots look like hail. On Sunday there
was hail in the area but I can't remember that last time it fell in the
5 Day ForecastToday
- July 11
Cloudy with sunny periods. A few showers beginning early this
morning and ending this afternoon. Risk of a thundershower. Amount 5 mm.
Fog patches dissipating this morning. High 25. UV index 3 or moderate.
Cloudy. A few showers or thundershowers beginning this evening.
Local amount 5 to 10 mm. Fog patches developing overnight. Low 18.
A few showers or thundershowers ending in the afternoon then a mix
of sun and cloud. Local amount 5 to 10 mm. Fog patches dissipating in the
morning. High 24.
A mix of sun and cloud with 40 percent chance of showers. Low 11.
A mix of sun and cloud with 60 percent chance of showers. Low 14.
A mix of sun and cloud with 60 percent chance of showers. Low 13.
July 14 - On Friday the birds were tossed from 10 km in a
southerly direction from the loft. They returned in 55 mins.
This morning they were released from the same point and they beat me home.
When I drove in the yard the last bird was trapping at the 25 minute mark.
Tomorrow they will be released from 20 km.