Convoyers Report - Cholet 2019

This week, only one transporter was required as the total number of birds in this race was approximately ...

3,659. After both vehicles went up and down both sides of the country dropping off and picking up crates and birds, we met at Cosham, Hampshire, only a couple of miles away from Portsmouth Dock. Our chairman had arranged for a team of workers to assist with the loading and unloading of both vehicles which was done in a very professional manner. A word of thanks to Jason and his merry men for all their hard work allowing myself and our driver Phil to proceed to the Docks. We once again got to the Docks with very limited time to spare and within 45 minutes we had left Portsmouth on route to Ouestraham. After a light supper and shower it was time for bed.

6.30 a.m. Friday, we were on the dock side where all drinkers were topped up on all three sides of the crates. We waited just over one hour to allow birds time to have a drink. The drive down to Cholet was very pleasant and the winds and weather were all in our favour.

We arrived at our liberation point around 1.30 p.m., after driver having required breaks, giving me time to top up drinkers on route. All birds were fed and after a hour or so, wasted food was cleared up and all side drinkers refreshed plus all front feed trays were filled with water. Throughout the afternoon, birds were monitored and readings were taken regarding heat and humidity all were found to be fine. Around 8.30 p.m. all birds were checked for final time.

4.30 a.m. Saturday morning, birds waters checked all ok, then the hard work began, no, not preparing for release but waking up fellow convoyers for updates on line of flight. Calls were coming in from our appointed people on the ground from different parts of the country.  All this was being taken into account. William Curtis was our appointed rep for consultations with the meteorological office and then relaying all this to Tony Adams who then along with his already gathered information was able to give me a full detailed account of the weather. You can never get enough information especially when you are looking after members future champion birds. After Tony's first call, the wings on the transporter were fully opened as a liberation was on the cards. Quick check of waters then myself and Phil began cutting the strings in between me receiving more updates. After more talks with our men on the ground and everything else taken into consideration, the birds were liberated into a beautiful blue sky with a South South West wind. All birds cleared the site in good time and were out of sight within three minutes. Once again we were joined by the French F.C.F., who complemented us on our liberation and our vehicle. That's all, Dom McCoy.