Archive for the ‘Auckland Federation Racing 2011 Old Birds’ Category

South Island Liberations III   3 comments

Well it is good news that the Invercargill birds are not up today but it definitely looks great for tomorrow with that northern low and its rain moving off the North Island today and the rain today on the West Coast off the South Island forecast to dissipate. More settled weather is on its way, so fingers crossed for tomorrow!
Thought I might share some extracts of email correspondence with the U.k. with you.
“Yes Brian, I agree with the possibility of all those arguments. My 3 late 2nd day pigeons were definitely not in the North Island on Saturday. The thought of a lot of birds perishing at sea is not a pleasant one. I am very attached to my birds and all the yearlings had a heap of potential. How would you feel about me putting your email I’m replying to on my site (or extracts), is it too inflammatory, only thing we need to try to tell what we see might be the truth and you are a respected flier. The fact that my 2nd bird 274 came home covered in oil at 7.11am and Laurie Hill had one with oily feet covered in down feathers at 7.22am suggests they camped out to sea on an oil well off New Plymouth and kicked on late Saturday after a rest and were close on the day.

Pretty sure (though of course can't prove it) that this boy 274 landed on one of the Taranaki Oil and Gas field structures out to sea on Saturday 10th December while attempting to get home to his loft. He arrived around 7am Sunday. This photo taken Monday 9 days later still showing evidence of the oil, although his feet are now clean, his wings and back aren't and white dust adheres top head.

 Unfortunate that the pigeons had such a bad start and the night before I was very concerned about the next mornings liberation. Hopefully we will put protocol in place for the future as its total carnage to have so many good pigeons lost wherever they may be. I just had a thought. Could you ask Keith Mott to do a short article on factors determining a hold over in his experience of racing and conveying/liberating in the U.K. perhaps with a few photos supplied.Thanx for asking, have enjoyed chatting lately.fergie”
On Sat, Dec 17, 2011 at 9:00 AM, Brian Batchelor <brian.batchelor@mypostoffice.co.uk> wrote:

“Hi Ferg,
Thanks for the results CHCH and Timaru, Peter normally sends them but nothing had come through for these races. It certainly seems the birds ran into trouble alright, my own theory is that the NE wind pushes them out to sea when they leave the western tip of the south island and many run out of daylight before they make landfall in the north island and consequently perish at sea. Those of us racing here in the southern part of England and Wales have this problem with the English channel as the pigeons arrive at the channel crossing late in the day and our NE wind pushes them toward the widest crossing point ie to Cornwall over 100 miles of sea to cross. Your pigeons would have to cross the Taranaki Bight and unless they hit the NI at say Wanganui or New Plymouth they are in trouble and getting tired may drift further out to sea. Some of the later pigeons that homed may have been behind earlier and not crossed Cook Straight until the next day. This is all supposition and difficult to prove, but racing pigeons are very much dictated to by the wind. In other words the preparation before the race may not have been the deciding factor and some otherwise good pigeons have probably been lost.
Cheers
Brian”

This email has been scanned by Westcoastcloud.
http://www.westcoastcloud.com

Same pigeon 274. Oil mark on white flights, head and grey/blue body.

Fergus Elley
Dec 18 (1 day ago)
to Brian
“That’s a very good observation Brian. Alright to post that one in an article perhaps on the Invercargill to add a bit of ‘ex patriot spice.’ Great, Brian, thanx fergie”
Fergus Elley
11:45 PM (9 hours ago)
to Brian
“Hi Brian, I’m off to bed soon, but may do another distance blog in the morning. You have said that it’s o.k. to use this email below on my blog, right? Also when you mean run out of daylight would you think more for our recent Timaru and further races like Invercargill given moderate nor-east or easterly winds rather than Christchurch as I would imagine the better birds got to the top of the South Island in about 5 hours last Saturday i.e. about 11.30am and even if it took 3 hours to get to Taranaki that’s 2.30pm. For the birds that tried to fly race point to loft over the 100 miles or so from around Golden Bay to somewhere around Taranaki or the Taranaki oil and gas fields to the south and west then unless they left the South Island late perhaps some of them just got too tired and dehydrated and drowned in the sea. We’ve all seen birds come home ‘tied up’ and there’s a very good chance this happened. However I’d agree with your comments in your last email that they could have been all over the place in the South Island due to the difficult nature of the race, but you’d think more of the last years National performance pigeons would have come home as they were the leading pigeons then i.e. I lost last years winner and 3rd place and other excellent pigeons.I think that apart from hitting wires e.t.c that they got stuck in the Alps or perished at sea. They were too good pigeons e.g. a sister of this years 14 hour 6 minute Timaru winner doing 1063m/min. My best cock in 2010 who came with the other top 3 winners in this race last year.Thanx, fergie.”
“hi Ferg,
OK to use what you like from my comments.
Regarding the Christchurch race, the level of losses would indicate that something very bad happened enroute, with the only weather info I have to go on being from your blog where you say there was a NE wind with low cloud and drizzle up the Kaikoura coast and likely that similar conditions prevailed inland along the line of flight.  Without seeing a weather map or knowing the strength of wind or how widespread the low cloud and drizzle was it is a big guess as to what might have happened to the the convoy. Clearly it was split up probably early in the race, so individuals and small groups would have been feeling their way up through the valleys of the rugged terrain of the inland Kaikouras or even further west depending on the strength of the wind and the extent of the drizzle in any case I surmise this would have been slow going and may have taken a lot longer than you suggest. Anyway my theory is that those that did push on exited the SI further west and later than would normally be the case and the wind continued to push them further west so that they missed the normal land fall south of Mt Taranaki and continued north bound by flying over the sea on the west side past the south and northern Taranaki Bights. Note that when flying over the sea there is no respite from the force of the wind so they would tend to get tired sooner than normal and would be taking a zig zag tacking line of flight to try and maintain the correct direction again all this means a much longer flying time. Exactly where they made land fall in the NI is hard to pin point but it may well have been up as far as Raglan. Going on the recorded flying times of the day birds 14+ hours and early 2nd day birds, my theory is that many of the birds would have stopped for the night as soon as they made landfall however some of birds may have drifted further west into the Tasman sea and did not make it to land before night fall. As their fate it is anyones guess a few may have struggled on and eventually made it to land but would be pretty well exhausted and taken some time to recover before they got moving on to home. Others may simply have gone down in the sea. With the late second day birds the indications are that they came across Cook Straight on the morning of the second day.  Our Grand National from Tarbes this year was a little bit similar although there was no low cloud or rain the NE wind was a bit stronger than expected and from the convoy of 3290 pigeons only 7 pigeons were timed on the day, 5 on the SW coast and two made it to the central area about 30 miles inland from the south coast. The actual race winner was timed early the 2nd day into the NW of England and obviously was in UK on the first day. I got my first pigeon just after midday on the second day and lost 3 from my entry of 7. One of these was my best cock named ERIC (pooled right through) who I had timed twice previously  right on darkness to take a top position. About a week after the race I had a phone call from a member of the public who had found him dead ie his remains on a beach in Cornwall on the SW peninsular. My guess he made to across the Channel and landed on beach very late on the first day and stopped there, but during the night a wave, possible a bow wave from a passing ship came up the beach and swamped him. Had this not happened he would have been an early second day bird well up in the result and in the money. The bird I did eventually time obviously did not cross the Channel until the second day, although only lightly pooled she still picked a 60 pounds in pool money which shows how scattered the returns were and again some otherwise good pigeons were lost including a half brother to ERIC who was just as good a pigeon in my opinion although less experienced than ERIC.
Best Regards
Brian”

A 3rd shot in the series of 274 taken Monday 9 days later.

“Brian, yes I agree with that possibility too and we are merely speculating. It was likely that many birds had a hell of a time in the South Island and the strange thing is that our pigeons have been treated much better in the North Island liberations. (editors  note- we have to acknowledge the fact as we all know in the Auckland Racing Pigeon Federation that our liberations are always performed with best intentions and it is not an easy job).

However it is very good to have Terry and your viewpoints, it is very much appreciated. I guess the bottom line is the birds must come first! We need to look at ways/protocols to reduce the risk or the sport will get itself in trouble with the public e.t.c. before too long.

I’ll give you one line of Terry’s email from last week On Fri, Dec 16, 2011 at 10:11 PM, Terry Williams <somerset1loftrace@talktalk.net> wrote:

Another from the same series of 274 but a little closer. When he actually returned his cere (above beak) was covered in oil.

“Good Day Fergie,
Hope you are well , we are sorting some photo`s out for you and we will send them on, i have attached the forms we are using this year, for your people to have a look at if you want, it explains all we hope will happen !!!  Keep up the good work, do you know anyone in Aussie that might send over 4 rings to put on our charity birds, it would be nice to have some from NZ & Aus, we have them from Spain , France, Portugal and Canada, we are hoping for a lot more !

until later , Oh I have read your article very good, and very true, the problem being is fanciers don`t like being told different that they do now! most will sit down and say its right and the hard nuts will stir it up , every fancier knows the birds come first

It’s all too true, without judging anyone in particular anywhere in the world)).

Sorry to hear about Eric, I think I recall you telling me about his loss. I guess the only safe place for them is in the loft unless you have a ferret problem like when you lived here in the 90’s at Redoubt Road, at least you knew then what had caused their fate.

Kind Regards, fergie.”

Back to the blog now. I was looking online at the Taranaki gas and oil fields and if you look at this site

teara.govt.nz/en/oil-and-gas/5/3  then you will see a schematic of the operations in the Taranaki Seas.

I have also emailed the company’s site to advise their workers to report stray racing pigeons.

Food for thought but I’m convinced that some of my experienced birds went down in the sea when they ‘tied up’ and ran ‘out of gas’ last Saturday. If you are a member of the public reading this you can take note that I and others are working at changing release protocols for racing pigeons in New Zealand.

Evidence of this is currently seen in the care that is being taken to get good weather for our Invercargill race which had been scheduled for release last Friday and the birds are still being cared for in Invercargill awaiting liberation. Perhaps tomorrow weather permitting. There have been examples of brilliant races overseas when the birds have been held over for 12 days. Indeed the last couple of years this race wasn’t released until the Tuesday i.e. 4 days after the scheduled release day and the Auckland fliers praised the people involved in organising the races liberation.

Final thought for the day is that I really liked Terry from the somerset1loftrace comments about the ‘hard nuts’. Ladies don’t read on for a minute, but I thought that something else was supposed to get hard!! However, perhaps people around the world sometimes are ‘poles apart’ on pigeon welfare, pun intended!!)). Perhaps those around the world who know they are ‘hard nuts’ can ‘stick it’, again, pun intended!!

As Terry says ‘every fancier knows the birds come first’

Final close up shot of 274. Bit blurry but that's oil on the back and top of head.

Posted December 19, 2011 by ferguselley in Auckland Federation Racing 2011 Old Birds

Tagged with

South Island Liberations II   4 comments

There is much debate about whether the Auckland Federation birds should have gone up last Saturday from ChristChurch given the metservice.com weather forecasts.

We must learn from this for the future that when the easterly quarter winds are moderate and particularly nor-east on a particular given race day that poor returns are likely. Sure some fliers will get quite good returns but when most get well under half their birds back after 3 days that is a very poor result in my book.

I think that the thing that stuffed last Saturdays race up the most was that the forecast the previous 2 days for the Canterbury plains and Kaikoura Coast of nor-easterlies with cloud and possible drizzle did actually eventuate. In fact that was the forecast when I looked at the metservice.com site at 5.30 am Saturday morning. If the east coast north of ChristChurch wasn’t going to be good then surely the higher ground from Hamner Springs through the Nelson Lakes National Park to St Arnaud onto Motueka and Nelson might also have been somewhat similar. Some of those peaks are 2000 metres high. One only has to use logic since the pigeons compass guides them to fly race point to loft.

As it turned out the driver on returning to Picton said that the Kaikoura Coast was in very low cloud with patchy drizzle. For the birds sake we must prevent this from happening again but acknowledge that the liberators have done an excellent job in the past.

The reasons for this are obvious as most fliers keep only small teams of birds and their teams have been hammered two weeks in a row. I believe that about half the birds that are still missing from last weeks ChristChurch shouldn’t have been lost and they got trapped in the murky mountains attempting to fly race point to loft by their sense of the magnetic fields. If not that then they used up a lot of gas trying to get to the top of the South Island and onwards to their homes.

What fliers must remember is that many of the birds that have limped home will be useless as race birds in years to come. Pigeons aren’t machines and there were other options such as waiting to see what the weather  was like in ChristChurch the next morning whilst checking the forecasts for the South Island thoroughly for Sunday and the Cook Strait. Alternatively the Auckland Executive could have requested that the driver drive to for example Ward sometime Saturday afternoon in time to give them their afternoon feed there and a liberation from Ward reassessed early the next morning. This is clearly within the rules. My guess then is that 80% of the birds would have returned home then within 2 days and Manaia club lofts and Adrian Chappell would have clocked on the day. What happened to the good philosophy of giving the backmarkers the best opportunity to get birds on the day in races as far south as ChristChurch. That would have been only fair to their birds and their enjoyment of the sport.

I do not either buy into the philosophy that certain fliers had super returns and therefore the fliers that didn’t mustn’t have had their birds right. There were just too many fliers affected for that argument to hold any water at all and what we should all do is admit that despite the best of intentions at liberation the end result was below average race returns . What I am saying there is not that the weather at ChristChurch was poor at 6.30am but that the forecasts which nowadays in my opinion get it close to right most of the time possibly weren’t heeded enough.

Once again I say easterlies especially moderate nor-easterlies with expected poor visibility and drizzle are not a good recipe for a modern day ‘pigeon friendly’ liberation. Let’s at least be consistent as in the North Island we don’t even take the truck to Raetihi if we think the weather is wet. Also the argument that some pigeons entered into the ChristChurch National race hadn’t had enough work could well be true but we’re ‘pussyfooting around’ with them in the ‘one day baskets’ at times and hence not giving them enough time on the wing. Remember you can’t argue it both ways. If we put them on the truck then shouldn’t we go to Raetihi if that’s the liberation point? Just as we go to ChristChurch which is significantly much further.

Obviously I am not saying that we need to wait for a howling southerly tail wind but we should perhaps lean a bit more on the conservative side in the future given similar forecasts. Now if any of you have any objection to what I write this is an open forum and you certainly have the ‘right of reply’ in the comments section attached. I will even edit this article if you can give me solid, tangible evidence that what I am writing is incorrect because that is only fair especially to the liberators. Actually from time to time I re edit my blogs to improve the read.

We have an Invercargill boxup tonight and scheduled liberation for Friday the 16th of December. The forecasts yesterday were bad however this morning things look a bit more positive for a weekend liberation at least looking at the forecasts for the lower South Island. Overseas I have heard that birds have been held over for as long as 12 days with a super result! Interesting!

Perhaps we need to start flying the pigeons down to ChristChurch for these key races and arrange a liberator who in the event of a holdover is set up to look after the birds for many days if the weather is not forecast to be favourable or of a type where we have had poor returns before e.g. moderate easterly winds in the South Island with murky conditions up the track.

Anyway, it’s going to be good in the future to discuss last weekends race and workout better protocols for the care of the pigeons and guidelines for liberation.

Please remember always that I am speaking up for the pigeons who cannot speak for themselves and ensuring just treatment for them’. i.e. being kind to them. So look, certainly feel free to comment, as that is what this blog is about, it is for all of us and the pigeons.

However it would still be nice if there was at least an admission that perhaps the liberation was a bit ‘risky’. There are a lot of Auckland fliers complaining and those of us on the Committee for the Auckland Racing Pigeon Federation should all take a step back and be thorough in how we improve our liberations.

I also believe that by using this forum to communicate it may improve the accuracy of our liberation decisions which has got to be good for all in sundry including the pigeons.

Finally, I’m sorry, but I don’t buy into the argument  that the liberators are ‘damned if they do and damned if they don’t’. We can’t expect 100%, but we should aim for it, what I mean here is reasonable race returns. However as mentioned previously we need to adjust our protocol for South Island liberations and have stricter guidelines for liberations in place by the time the South Island races start again late next year.

Posted December 13, 2011 by ferguselley in Auckland Federation Racing 2011 Old Birds

Tagged with

South Island Liberations   3 comments

Well we’ve had two South Island races to Auckland Federation lofts. One from Timaru and one from ChristChurch. Both resulted in many lost birds. So we’ll start with the Timaru.

These birds from Auckland Federation lofts, 88 to be exact were basketed on Tuesday the 29th of November and released on the 2nd of December. The birds were liberated at 6.30am. See aucklandracingpigeonfed.com site for further info. We thank those involved in the care of the birds including the transport supplied by the Palmerston North Racing Pigeon Club which took them down from Palmerston North and others who helped get them to Palmerston North.

Now for out of Auckland people Timaru to Auckland lofts is from about 560 to 640 miles depending on who is flying. So even on a good day with tail winds much of the way it is a good test of the birds character, intelligence, stamina and orientation abilities.

In the past I have found that for my loft about half the birds find their way home within a day or two from release. Although these returns are not perfect the problem for fliers is that we don’t know whether a bird is capable of flying that far on it’s first attempt. Also not all pigeons can navigate that far. Normally a bird has had a solid buildup to the event with preferably a 10 hour fly in the last 5 or so weeks, either 3, 4 or 5 weeks from the event and then steady flies up to around 3 hours after they recover from the 10 hour event i.e. 2 or 3  weeks later. Nowadays I simply use the Federations big truck and I thank Fred and Ron for their services there throughout the year. This year 3 of us had a National Park toss on the Friday seven days prior to the Timaru liberation. We are thankful that the truck waited around 45 minutes prior to release as it was drizzling at National Park. A good opportunity for Ron to have his lunch and eventually it cleared and the birds had a good steady 3 hour plus run which helped them immensely because Grant Annette and myself had the only two birds on the day from Timaru. I gave my 6 candidates (3 of which are photographed in a previous post) a 10km short toss on the Sunday then out for a few hours Monday morning, however the hens stayed out much longer and is possibly why none of them turned up from Timaru. However genetics could well be a greater factor but they probably needed more weight on them which is mandatory for most flies of that distance regardless of weather encountered en route. One of the cocks (the blue chequer) was a heavy cock and I’d sent him the week before to Raumati which was just over a 5 hour fly for him. I hummed and haa’d about sending him to Timaru and as usual the race turned out harder than anticipated and to date he hasn’t made it home. The Blue barr cock 421 did though in fact he flew 14 hours and 6 minutes and he was flying to about 14 day eggs. The Blue barr white flight cock 330 struggled home early monday i.e. the 4th day. Both these birds had a little weight on them. Because we have had a very hard race last Saturday from ChristChurch I think I will put 330 to stock as well as he was very consistent this year and had a top prize from Ward last year (about 330 miles). He probably wouldn’t race any good again anyway as he is still skinny and was flown out. The hen I got on the day from ChristChurch 10th December I will mate to 421. She was 4th East Section National (about 450 miles) but about an hour off the pace of Chris Wilkinson’s bird which ‘raced a race of it’s own’. Chris won the Overall on that race and it was indeed an incredible fly and she had 2 more birds on the day also so must have had her team in excellent order.

Getting back to the Timaru. Probably with the north-easterlies at liberation and the fact that if you draw a line from Timaru to Auckland the birds have to go over the Alps and find the right valleys. Probably most of the birds gave it a go but some probably couldn’t find their way through or spent a lot of time and energy trying. The top of the South Island had moderate north winds and the Cook Strait was gusting up to 60km with decent sized waves so a real test for the birds that had the guts, ability and a little bit of luck to have got through the Alps in good time with energy to spare to cross over the water. There may have been a little bit of a respite for those that crossed in the early afternoon north of Wellington but the head winds being a north-easterly which mainly picked up from around Taihape and from 3 pm onwards there were a lot of showers to go through from Taihape north of. I expect in between the showers the visibility would have been hazy with that low cloud you get especially on the volcanic plateau but also on any cool ground where a front is around.

It was nice to have my youngest daughter Cassie to keep me company in the hour prior to the birds arrival. She even brought my dinner down and I’d just started it when at 8.36pm with light fading, zoom over our heads ‘a bird’ what a thrill! He was tired and stayed on the inside ledge above the electronic pads for about 5 minutes before I let him in to his compartment. I think the low light and his fatigue made it hard to see clearly, but next morning he was back on his eggs which have now hatched.

The following night we had strike off and this year I had decided not to tell if I had birds so no one knew. Others had already had a go at working out the positions prior to strike off, can you relate to that if you are from overseas or out of Auckland!! I honestly didn’t expect to win as I thought that there’d be more day birds as my birds were up against some stiff competition including Colin Webster of Rata lofts who had won it 3 years out of the last 4, an incredible record. He finished up 4th bird clocking 10am second day. Grant Annette’s Grizzle hen which had been raced lightly was the other day bird and must have been with mine up until somewhere in the Waikato i.e. 50 to 100 miles out but 421 made 13 minutes on it. However hats off to Grants bird which arrived in the dark at 8.47pm. Incidentally  Colin Webster bred that bird and it is off two Timaru winners including his grizzle hen which won a very hard Timaru.

Finally there has been some speculation amongst fliers as to whether or not the feeding and watering was adequate for the birds. Firstly there were only 8 birds per standard wax box so there was plenty of room. Also given the fact that each box had secured containers in each corner  so that 2 food containers were at one end and 2 water containers at the other end and they were changed at least daily I think all is good. I will point out that the Waikato and other North Island Clubs that use the Palmerston North Transporter have also 4 secured containers, one in each corner but one food and one water is at each end and the same at the opposite end. I doubt this difference could be that significant. From the conversation I had with one of the 2 drivers that did the trip together I can definitely say that our birds had excellent care! There was definitely plenty of water.

Also apparently a pump is used to remove the old water and fresh pumped in. Pigeons are intelligent and I think it is more the distance of the race and the hurdles of the Alps and it’s 2000 metre heights and probably misty valleys, the Cook Strait’s strong head winds and not much respite from a difficult fly for most of the North Island with showers and headwinds. A bird had to be really right with perhaps a little bit of luck at not getting trapped up some blind valley in the mountains to get through on the day or even the second day. At strike off at 7pm on the second day there were only 8 birds clocked from 88 so a very difficult race. So far I have heard of only 15 home including the odd reported one in Whanganui and Palmerston North. All credit to Dave Bunker at Pointview lofts who had 3 home at strike off out of his 12 and his first bird was third clocking at 8.18 am the second day. Rata lofts, Theo Van Lier and Don Campbell also got a bird. Joe Edwards bird was late the second day and was given a clock reading the next basketing night, he only sent 2 so good fly Joe. Pointview lofts also had a late one second day.

The winning velocity was 1063 m/min. Here’s his photo again

This pretty Blue Barr Cock is a son of the mother of 577 to a different sire. He was 2nd Old Bird National ChristChurch 2010 coming with 1st and 3rd to my loft. I have had alot of success with brothers and sisters including the gun Blue hen in 2009 Young Birds which won 1st Open Futurity, 1st Eastern Union and 4th Jack Longville Race.

Posted December 13, 2011 by ferguselley in Auckland Federation Racing 2011 Old Birds

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Weekends racing from Blenheim and ChristChurch to Auckland Federation Clubs   Leave a comment

Well it looks like I got the weather pretty well right for this weekend. I didn’t want a 4 day basket seeing it was a Wednesday boxup so I left them at home. Now they’re all happily mated up for the Timaru in less than 3 weeks and the ChristChurch National in 4 weeks followed by the Invercargill. The business end of the season for the distance fliers! Let’s hope that we get some good settled pigeon weather.

It should be a good race tomorrow from both racepoints and the liberation committee certainly have done the right thing holding the birds over. They’ll be fat by now!!

I hear Palmerston North had an Invercargill liberation today and it’ll be interesting to see if anyone down there got birds on the day. It’s about 540 miles or so depending on where you live so similar to Timaru to my place. Hope someone from down there let’s us know how they got on.

Might update this in the next few days for those interested.

Posted November 12, 2011 by ferguselley in Auckland Federation Racing 2011 Old Birds

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Weekends race from Ward to the Auckland Racing Pigeon Federation (ARPF) Lofts.   3 comments

A daughter of 577 (Inbred son of Houbie and gun ace cock) was first of my 5 pool birds and the lightest of the 5. Others said their lighter bodied birds in general were their earlier ones, perhaps not only the headwinds but the warm day also contributed to this observation by many.

Last weekend on Saturday the 29th October 2011 the ARPF birds plus 3 boxes from the Manaia Club were liberated from Ward, South Island, New Zealand. The liberation report is on aucklandracingpigeonfed.com site and was at 7.30am. Studies of wind and rain radar observations from the NZ metservice online site showed little wind to start with which gradually built as the birds flew up the coast of the South Island and was blowing a good northerly in the Marlborough Sounds, over the Cook Strait and at Wellington.

Further up the North Island conditions were warm with light winds and getting quite warm as the day progressed. From around Whanganui and to the north the mainly north-east winds gradually built up to be moderate in parts of the Waikato and into Auckland. Moderate to heavy showers were likely in many places in the King Country and the Waikato. The Taumaranui birds went up 15 minutes later i.e. 7.45am and some arrived home to their lofts in Taumaranui around 1.30pm and had been through showers.

Not first to the loft this time but a much smaller full sister was, but 'No toe' won pools and the teams with the daughter of 577 above.

Reports of very heavy rain were heard from Pirongia and Hamilton and Pio Pio. I believe one of our winners may’ve had a secret toss from Pio Pio that afternoon and the liberator there said those toss birds headed to the north west away from the dark grey skies)). Rain radar at 2 and 3pm showed about a 25km band (north to south) of moderate or heavier showers/rain from most of Kawhia Harbour/Raglan all the way through to the Coromandels. Anything that tried to go through that would have been severely hammered/drenched. I expect the small bunches of gutsy pigeons that had worked hard all the way most likely headed to the fine western side of Kawhia Harbour to get around the dark grey clouds and make a bee line to their respective lofts with the attrition rate of birds falling behind the leaders increasing bit by bit as fatigue and dehydration set in. Those mud flats at Kawhia and Raglan would have been severely tempting for some birds as they passed by and a couple of mine had the dried mud on their feet but they probably weren’t down for long.

This cock is one of 6 brothers and they're off a sister of 577. He scored 6th Old Bird National ChristChurch 2010 when my loft took the first 3 places, all Houben/Jansen hybrids. I was going to send him to Timaru this year but I think the Old bird National is a better idea.

So congratulations to the Provisional winners they were Don and Tira Campbell whose bird won the West Section Futurity Yearling Race with the highest velocity recorded for the combined liberation of 1015 m/min. Theo van Lier had the second highest velocity at 1012. Ronnie  Reed with first in the West Section Flock Race and consistent Colin Webster of Rata lofts with his able assistant Cookie taking both legs in the East. Commiserations to those runner ups including my loft which gained 3rd and 4th Flock East and 4th Yearling. Grant Annette had enjoyed the afternoon until his 3 birds arrived and unfortunately they got a scare when he got behind them. He only needed about 20 seconds to win the Futurity Yearling in the East but at least he had won the Federation East Section Yearling from Raumati 2 weeks before and his birds ended up 2nd and 3rd Yearling Futurity East and 5th Flock. Speaking of ‘getting behind’ Don Campbell had an interesting secret to tell at the Provisional prize presentations about his very fit bird which was on eggs with another cock)). Hope to get a few photos of that for a near future blog.

This pretty Blue Barr Cock is a son of the mother of 577 to a different sire. He was 2nd Old Bird National ChristChurch 2010 and may be I'll send him to Timaru this year. I have had alot of success with brothers and sisters including the gun Blue hen in 2009 Young Birds which won 1st Open Futurity, 1st Eastern Union and 4th Jack Longville race. Footnote 4th February 2012- If you read the South Island Liberation article you will see that this cock won the Auckland Federation Timaru later in 2011. Flying time of 14 hour 6 minutes.

All and all it was a good night, I didn’t start the long drive home till 10.45pm cos got talking with Eric Billington and Laurie Hill for an hour or so after everyone left. Stayed up late trying to get my head around this blog site so I was pretty knackered today so did 5/8’s of you know what!!

Another one of the 6 brothers. This cock won the Raetihi Combine 8th of October with 'No toe'. Following week he was 4th Federation Flock Raumati being 4 minutes behind 'No toe' and BBH daughter of 577. He was my 5th pool bird last Saturday but obviously took it easy as he was there when I looked in the loft around 8am the next morning with another cock and they were both looking really fresh. He is another latebred from 2010 with an 08 ring on. I don't think he needs to go back to the South Island this year, he has proved himself and can now develop physically and have a break till 2012. He is a brother to the 'Pretty Cock' in the first post.

What was your recollections of the night and the long day waiting for our feathered friends??

Posted October 31, 2011 by ferguselley in Auckland Federation Racing 2011 Old Birds

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