We arrived at Coutances around 3.30 p.m., on Friday. The pigeon trailer was parked for liberation so that the birds would not need to be moved. The waters were topped up and birds were fed. A few more photos were taken. (All previous photos and information regarding this race is on the N.F.C. website.) After the birds were settled, I began making more enquiries regarding our liberation. In the late evening we experienced heavy rain as predicted by our weather man and by early morning the rain had cleared and was moving in a southerly direction.
About 6.00 a.m. local time, whilst waiting for sunrise, all strings were cut in preparation for an early liberation, because the winds were still North West and some members birds were expected to be over ten hours on the wing, an early liberation was the call of the day.
At 6.45 a.m. local time, with the sun rising, a blue clear sky was emerging. All was prepared for liberation. Time to talk to people on our flight path. Calls to race advisor and weather man, re line of flight, were all good with twenty miles of visibility on the coast. 7.45 a.m. local time, we were all set to go, everything looking perfect for a good race.
8.00 a.m. local time, all birds were liberated into a light North West wind with clear blue skies. All birds cleared within a couple of minutes and all left the site together. (Video of liberation on N.F.C. website forum.) After all crates were checked and closed, we cleared up and left Coutances. After a few hours on the road, I got text messages informing me that birds were being clocked. This is always good to hear.
I was made aware of a few concerns regarding the liberation from certain members i.e. the liberation is too early, the channel is too cold, the liberation is too late, etc. As usual I am always interested in members views and welcome any questions regarding any liberation I am involved with. We or should I say I, get first class information from weather forecasters and various N.F.C. members who assist with information freely, to help our races and without this help I could not do my job and give it the justice it deserves because I can only see what is around me at the liberation site. These dedicated members as well as all the other convoyer’s etc., give me the advice on line of flight etc. I will endeavour to address these points / queries as follows: -
- Liberation too early: - 8.00 a.m. French time is 7.00 a.m. G.M.T., (UK time), for those not too sure. The wind on liberation was North West, the birds average speed was estimated at 40 / 45 m.p.h. with the longest flier’s distances being over 400 miles, entailed a possible / probable ten hours plus flying time, which means roughly time wise, 5.00 p.m. for leaders, the later birds 7.00 – 8.00 p.m. These birds are members future race teams and I personally feel that members would want them home during hours of daylight.
- Channel too cold: - The English channel is actually warmer in September then the rest of the year, i.e. in June, the temperature is an approximate average of 59 degrees. In September, it is 65 degrees.
I look forward to all and any comments on the N.F.C. forum which is open and free to all members. I hope you all, have had a good season and I wish you all, the very best.
Mr. D. McCoy,