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July 2008 Diary

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TRAINING BEGINS

If you are wondering what my logic is for the incremental changes in the release points, here it is.  Northern NB is a very heavily wooded area.  The main highway south has no farmlands so convenient release points are very hard to find.  The first release point is an abandoned cement plant just out of the city limits; the 2nd point is an abandoned truck stop just off the main highway and the 3rd is an abandoned airfield that was once used by the Natural Resources Department to fight forest fires.  The last training spot is a farm field just north of the Miramichi River.  The first race point is as well an "abandoned" baseball field and 40 km south of the Miramichi River and inside Kouchibouguac National Park.

July 2nd (12 km) - The birds received their 1st training toss today.  They were released at 7:50 in a mix of sun and cloud with calm conditions. They arrived as a group 50 minutes later.

July 3rd (12 km) - The 2nd train tossing birds released at 7:50.  Four birds arrived at 8:20; three of these had health issues.  The rest arrived at 8:40, circled the loft a couple of time, landed and trapped immediately.

July 4th (28 km) - The birds received their 3rd training toss this morning from a distance of 28 km.  They were released at 8:18 in cool calm weather and cloudless skies.  They arrived just as I drove in the yard at 8:55 and trapped immediately.  Tomorrow they will be tossed from the same point.  It looks like their sightseeing days may be over.  I hope so.

          

   

July 5th (28 km) - The birds were released at 8:30 and 7 birds were home when I arrived at 9:05.  The rest arrived at 9:14.

July 6th (42 km) - The birds were released in perfect weather at 8:40.  When I arrived home at 9:30 the vast majority of birds were in the loft.  Only a handful were still outside sitting around.

July 7th (42 km) - The birds were released at 7:10 in warm, hazy and very calm conditions.  Eight birds arrived in 50 minutes.  The rest decided to do some sightseeing first and finally arrived an hour later.  It was 26 C by 9:30.  The high eventually reached 31 C with a humidex value of 34 C (92 F). 

Tomorrow the birds will be tossed from 65 km a spot just south of the "Mighty Miramichi River".

July 9th - Yesterday the youngsters were released at the 65 km mark in perfect weather but hot.  They arrived home in 90 minutes.  Today was a slightly different story.  When I left for the training toss it was mostly cloudy but bright with a 60% chance of showers.  At the release point it was mostly sunny and another ideal day for a toss.  The birds were let go at 7:25 and immediately disappeared over the trees in the wrong direction.  I didn't see them again until a few km from home.  Light warm showers began to fall about 20 km from the loft.  At 8:30 and less than 5 km from home, I saw the flock cross the highway.  They continued zig zagging across it several times and didn't give me the impression that they were in any rush to get home.  About 2 km from home it looked like they broke off towards the loft but when I arrived there no birds were to be seen.  Finally at almost 8:45, the group appeared above the loft and kept on flying in the light rain.  They seemed to be enjoying it so I let them continue for another 5 minutes before I whistled them down.  They dropped and trapped immediately.  After 8 straight days of training I believe the Le Tour Testing Station (LTTS) team is ready to begin racing.  Good Luck to all.

Weather permitting the first race from Kouchibouguac (107 km) will be flown Friday.  The official inventory will be posted tomorrow on the Overall Results page.

Training Release Points

August Diary