Brian’s Brit Blog July 2012   1 comment

Greetings from a damp and dreary water-logged Britain, the British weather at best is fickle, but this summer in Britain has been something else, being reported as the wettest since records began. The culprit is the jet stream which normally flows above Scotland, but this year it has dropped down across northern Europe and is cycling around siphoning up tons of water from the Atlantic and dumping it on us. At the time of writing there are ten days to go before the Olympic Games start so I can only hope for the sake of the athletes and visitors alike that it shifts back up to northerly regions.

Of course the weather affects all living things including our racing pigeons. This has meant a very high rate of attrition indeed and our local SMT Combine like many other organisations had to cancel one of the Channel races from Messac and run a shorter inland race instead, also the Combiner had to join forces with the London & South East Classic and Central Southern Classic clubs to transport the pigeons for our Blue Riband race from Bergerac at the end of the season. However it has not been all doom and gloom and some excellent performances have been put up by game pigeons that have beaten the conditions. I summarise some of these major over 500 mile events as follows: –

Pau International British section was won by J Shipperfield of Herne Bay with a velocity of 1203 ypm, when there were a good number of pigeons recorded on the day.

Tarbes Grand National: After a one day holdover a late liberation was made the next day at 1.45 pm to prevent the birds from reaching the Channel late on the day. The weather forecast showed some rain in France on the line of flight but some pigeons broke through this and the first pigeons were timed late morning on the 2nd day, the weather here packed up soon after with heavy rain showers all day and continuing the next day, so after the early returns the arrivals slowed to a trickle. The winning pigeon was owned by Mark Bulled doing a velocity of 1203 ypm.

Barcelona International British section was won by the ace fancier Mark Gilbert of Windsor doing a velocity of 1028 ypm. One of my local club mates Ray Hammond was a very credible 5th and 14th.

Agen International British section was won by C.Simmons of Basildon on a velocity of 1149 ypm.

Unfortunately the NRCC Lerwick race was cancelled and the pigeons were brought home due to a long period of very bad weather.

Rather than bore readers with endless results I will deviate and tell a couple of rather strange stories on the behaviour of pigeons that throws an interesting light on their intelligence that I believe is often under estimated by us fanciers. The first concerns a pigeon of mixed breed that is owned by a lady in my village named Ingrid that keeps a few pigeons as pets. Her favourite and boss of her loft is a Blue Pied cock named “Frankie”.  This pigeon flies up to her, coos and carries on when ever he wants her attention. Well about a month ago late one evening Ingrid and her husband were sitting inside watching TV when Frankie kept flying up onto the window sill and calling to Ingrid. Eventually Ingrid’s husband said for heaven’s sake Ingrid go out see what that pigeon wants. Well Ingrid went outside and Frankie flew down and walked around the side of their car next to their boundary hedge. Ingrid followed him around and there on the ground was a completely flown out racing pigeon. As soon as  Ingrid picked it up Frankie immediately flew back to the loft and up onto his perch. This racer turned out to belong to one of our club members Mr and Mrs Durrant and sons and was missing from that weekends Channel race from Cholet and it had finally dropped exhausted a mere two miles from home. Naturally the Durrants were delighted to get it back.

The next story occurred about the same time, on this occasion I was sitting watching TV early evening about 5.30pm when a pigeon swept around then dropped onto the landing board and went straight in. I thought, that’s funny, I have no pigeons out at the moment so I went down to the loft to investigate. When I got to the loft the pigeon had gone through the internal trap and was sitting on the drinker where it had obviously just quenched its thirst. It was not one of my birds but I immediately recognised it by an unusual white marking on its neck as a pigeon that had strayed into my loft the previous year. Anyway it was indeed a Welsh pigeon that had come into me from exactly the same race from Lille in France the previous year. This years race was also a hard day with a head wind all the way so it seems this bird, starting to get tired, thirsty and hungry after a good few hours on the wing had remembered where there was a free perch and board and so pitched into my loft to enjoy another dose of my hospitality. On phoning the Welsh owner to let him know he was here, he immediately asked what time it arrived, the comment then was with the typical Welsh lilt  “ Da lazy Buggar”  the pigeons I timed in that race got here that day about 8.30pm. So it seems this smart pigeon saved himself about three more hours on the wing. A couple of days later when the weather cleared he slung his hook and headed home to Wales. I wonder if I will see him again next year.

Moving onto my own loft and pigeons and how they have fared this season, well firstly let me say I had no great expectations at the beginning of the season with a rather small, young inexperienced team. The only two experienced pigeons were a 7 year old BC Pied hen and 3 year old Blue hen and they served me well, one very hard race from Messac 237 miles I timed the Blue 3 year old after 12.5 hours on the wing and old 7 year old after 14.5 hours on the wing. Many pigeons were lost that day due to the fierce NE wind and two of my club mates had 4 pigeons between them reported in Ireland. I later sent both these hens to the Tarbes Grand National and as mentioned a few game pigeons came through early on the 2nd day then the returns were sparse due to the rain and there were only 3 pigeons timed in my local clock station on the 2nd day. I found my Blue hen in the loft at morning tea time on the 3rd day and she recorded 51st section, 452nd open from the convoy of 2809 pigeons. Raptors have again been a big problem, I lost my best two year old cock on the first 15 mile training toss and upwards of 50% of the race team have returned at some stage during the season with wing and tail feathers missing and other damage from being attacked. However my yearlings have put in some good performances and won some prizes and trophies. The best was winning the clubs longest race from Bergerac 440 miles with a Blue white flight cock of Supercrack bloodlines pictured below. He was also 3rd Surrey FED and 3rd SMT Combine.

My winner from Bergerac 440 miles, a Blue white flight cock of Supercrack bloodlines.

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Posted July 24, 2012 by ferguselley in Brian's Brit Blog, U.k. news items

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One response to “Brian’s Brit Blog July 2012

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  1. Brian, good result from the Bergerac race with the ‘supercrack cock’ which gained 1st Club, 3rd Surrey FED and 3rd SMT Combine. That is a great result and the bird excelled itself!!

    I can understand why you are looking at purchasing more of that line.

    We appreciate the time you put into reporting the U.K. scene.

    Cheers, fergie.

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