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August 2007 Diary

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Week 2

August 7 - For each of the 2 days before the Moncton race the team flew for good hour.  The day after the race the birds flew for 75 mins.  This morning they flew for 75 minutes as well.  Cooler temperatures help.  I hate to say this but Fall is in the air.  I have never seen better droppings.

August 9 - Fall is definitely in the air.  Yesterday the birds flew for over an hour in cool weather.  This morning with NW winds approaching 30 km and gusting up to 50 km, the birds flew for over an hour.

The birds are exercising well, trapping well, eating well and after exercise period when they land they are as fresh as before they started exercising.  There are no birds huffing and puffing and gasping for air.  Furthermore, droppings haven't been better, they handle corky and buoyant, throats are clear and rosy pink, feet are clean and the skin covering their chest muscles is clear of scales. 

I am a bit of a pessimist.  Things have been going very well to the point that improvement will be very hard to achieve.  The challenge will be to maintain this condition for the rest of the series.  There is still about 1900 km of flying left.

The molt is a bit of concern.  The birds have been on 16 hours of light since July 1st.  At this time some birds were beginning to molt around the beak and some cover feathers began dropping.  Since training began and then racing, the molt seems to have been retarded.  There are no birds with their ears uncovered and body feathers seem to be tighter.  The real racing will start this weekend from Truro (300 km).

Week 3

August 18 - The race team flew for 90 mins the morning after the last race.  They have been flying for a solid hour daily since then.  I handled a few yesterday and they haven't looked or felt better.  The birds will be basketed this morning for tomorrow's race from Truro. 

Environment Canada's Sunday forecasts as of 8:00 this morning.

Bathurst - Increasing cloudiness with 40 percent chance of showers late in the day. Risk of a thundershower. Wind west 20 km/h. High 16.

Truro - Sunny in the morning and early in the afternoon then a mix of sun and cloud with 40 percent chance of showers late in the day. Wind west 20 km/h. High 17.

Note: The forecast was for sunny with no chance of rain earlier in the week.  The forecast has been slowly worsening but is still good.  As always the Weather Network's forecast is better.

Week 4

August 24 - The Le Tour birds were not as peppy the day after the 2nd Truro race as they were after the first one.  They only flew for about 30 mins which is understandable.  On Tuesday they flew for 45 mins and on Wednesday and Thursday this was stretched out to a solid hour of vigorous flying.  Today in a light rain all birds flew for at least 45 mins and half the birds continued flying up to the 75 min mark.  I handled a group of racers this morning.  They are ready for a 6 to 7 hour flight this weekend.

 I have yet to decide whether the race will be Sunday or Monday.  The weather prediction by Environment Canada for New Brunswick on Sunday is for a mix of sun and cloud with up to 60 percent chance of showers and thundershowers and for Nova Scotia it is for cloudy weather.  The Weather Network's prediction at this time and as always is considerably more favorable.  The weather prediction by both forecasters for Monday is for sunny throughout the course with NW winds of 15 km.  Since the birds will still have another 2 races and almost a 1000 km of flying left after the Antigonish race and plenty of opportunity to fly in more adverse weather conditions, I am favoring a Monday release.  I will make my decision early tomorrow morning. 

August 25 - I have decided to fly Stage 7 from Antigonish on Monday mainly due to this prediction for Sunday throughout PEI and Nova Scotia: Fog patches dissipating in the morning.  From many years of flying this course my experience has been that we get fog regularly when not predicted and when it is predicted the mornings tend to be very long.

The Weather Network is predicting head winds of 10 to 20 km/hr throughout the course.  If the race is a 7 hour flight the birds will have in effect flown at least 100 km further compared to no wind conditions.  I could argue this equivalent to a 450 km flight.

The team was exercised this morning and flew for over an hour without encouragement.

Overall Results

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