Good morning everyone!
Monday's toss was their first time across the Columbia River. There was a ever so slight wind out of the west so at release in Grass Valley they got pushed farther to the east than they had before. I believe that with them being pushed sideways a bit for the first time and also crossing the Columbia River for the first time, well it was just a bit much for some of them. The first half acted normal at return, then the rest came home spooked so they may of also been chased by a falcon on the way home. We rarely get falcons here around the loft, however we do encounter them along the cliffs of the Columbia River. Some years we loose zero birds crossing the river, then others it seems to be a struggle. Very frustrating this year since the birds have never been healthier in 6 years of hosting this race, all we can do at this point is to try to get them back on track so we can have the activation race and eventually get to some real racing!
Not studying the weather yet, but game plan is to train again Saturday, train Monday, then have the activation race Wednesday. Of course this is all dependent upon how the last toss went and weather.
The birds have been fed very heavy the last days, Monday being their toss from Grass Valley and they sat in the loft Tue and Wed since many returned Tue and a few Wed. Due to them not being overly hungry, they are trapping slowly and a Cooper flying over did not help matters either. We are now trying to entice the birds in with small amounts of feed, once all in we will feed them all at the same time.
The birds were released in groups 10 minutes apart, 6 groups today
Please stay tuned for the Activation Race, it will be early next week. It is $300 per bird and you can pay ONLY via PayPal under our PAYMENTS tab on our Home Page, or send a check/money order/cashiers check.
Rick & Olga
The birds were released in small groups between 0915-1000. This was their first toss across the Columbia River and they encountered some west wind which would be on their left wing, instead of coming out of due south which they would with no wind they are coming out of the SE and E. This means that they have to fly around Rattlesnake Ridge which means speeds will be slow, even for those released first.
While typing this they keep coming, depending upon returns we will have the Activation Race Wed or Thur.
Not sure what I did, barely touched the laptop which serves as our clock operating the TauRIS clocking system and it locked up on me. Once the birds clock in to TauRIS they can be retrieved from the hard drive, but instead of calling Terry Gilmore to help I just decided to close down the previous trainer and have them scan back in again after forcing them all back out.
The birds were released in groups of 150-200 birds at a time starting at 0810ish, last birds around 0845ish. If you read previous updates you will already know why we do this and why trainers this year are being started at 0530. Races and the activation race will obviously be single releases and the time of release will be accurate.
Game plan is to rest them tomorrow and take them to Grass Valley Monday which will be their first toss across the Columbia River. If they do well from Grass Valley which is 85 miles we will either train again Tuesday from the same spot and have the Activation Race Thursday, if they excell from Grass Valley on Monday we may have the Activation Race Wednesday, has everything to do with how they do from Grass Valley the first time and as always forecasted weather.
Please pay attention to when the Activation Race is held, you wll have 7 days to get your $300 entry fee to us per bird before the first race. You can pay via check in the mail, or pay via PayPal under our payments tab on our home page.
Good morning Apple Cup breeders and those studying our race!
Most of the birds are in at the time of typing this up, loft manager just called them in to feed so the rest should follow, looks as if all are here. Was cold, clear, no clouds, no wind this morning and even though it was their first toss from 65 miles all groups headed north toward home with no circling. I posted a video on Facebook on our personal page for all to see what the release location looks like, we do this every year if we remember from new locations for the first time and always races.
Again, do not get caught up about speeds. I came up with the idea of starting the race time on Wincompanion as 0530 which is when we start to load up birds for the day so that if late birds come in before the actual release time they will show up on the race report, they will not with the clocking system I am using. I am also releasing them in groups so results are irrelevant. The activation race and all races are OF COURSE single releases, trainers are in small groups. It is just a precautionary measure to cut down on injuries from wires and if a group goes the wrong way at least it is not the whole group.
If the weather is nice tomorrow we will train again. Game plan is 65 miles two more times, at least 85 miles twice, then the activation race at 100 miles.
Good morning for everyone on the west coast, good afternoon to everone else in North America!
Perfect conditions today at release, first birds went out around 0815 and were released 150-200 birds at a time 10 minutes apart. Sunny, no wind, cool, no clouds. We got back to the loft around 0945 and it was apparent that the birds were not going to trap fast today, they really got fed up on their rest day after 98 birds decided to not come home and 70 returned their second day which was yesterday. The 70 birds that returned yesterday were not trained today so they could rebound a bit before the next toss, they were however allowed out after most of the birds trained today came in so they will be part of the inventory. We have 2nd day arrivals trap in to their own section so we can determine if they are injured, or simply just came late.
The loft helpers are putting feed in the loft now so you should see the rest of the birds trap in shortly. It appears as if all of the birds returned. Hoping that we picked up a few late ones and did not drop any of the ones who already made it from Satus Pass two days ago. Conditions are the same today as they were on Friday, Friday they came in all broke up today they for the most part came together, still scratching my head...
We have some stuff we must attend to Monday and Tuesday so game plan is to train again on Wednesday from Satus Pass. If they do well we will progress to Goldendale which is 60 miles at least 3 times before going to Grass Valley at 85 twice before the Activation Race.
Everyone have a great Sunday!
Rick & Olga
Good morning everyone.
I got to Satus Pass about 0730 and the first group of about 200 went out at 0810 Groups were released about 10 minutes apart as they took off to the north in exactly the right direction. Sunny, no clouds, cool not hot, no wind, and they headed in exactly the right direction and they still come in broken up. I can speculate as to what may of happened, if it was not a bird of prey chasing the heck out of them then I have absolutely no idea.
At the time of writing this we have about 50% in the clock, hopefully the rest return today.
No explanation, feel sick to my stomach.
Please save the phone calls and texts until at least the end of the day, they may all return here shortly.
I will say this, all of the birds when returning came from way up high like pin dots, first time they have done this all year.
Lets all hope and pray that we get most back before nightfall. Plan was to train again on Sunday, however we will adjust fire if the birds come in spread out all day or we still have quite a few coming in the morning.
I did post a video of the release on Facebook today, it shows the conditions being exactly what I describe above.
Here is a explanation as to yesterday's toss.
Most of the birds trapped yesterday from the 25 mile toss shortly after they arrived. A large group continued to fly and then it started to rain. They landed on the loft and just sat there in the rain, then a Red Tail hawk flew by and spooked them. A large group refused to go in from being chased a bit before nightfall by the hawk but did land on the landing board which runs the length of the loft. Once it got dark we closed up the hindged doors which close the landing board in so no cats or owls could get to them. The loft cleaners are here now scraping perches and once done we will put the feed down and hopefully these knuckleheads sitting on the other side of the trap will come in to eat. The birds are not being loft flown today because we want all birds to eat at the same time so in the next few days it makes it easier for us to trap the birds at the same time they arrive. Tomorrow the birds will rest as well beause Olga has an appointment in the morning that we must both go to. Game plan is to resume training Thursday providing the weather is good enough, supposed to be periodic rain this week.
Birds are in great health, could not be happier this year!
Good morning to those of you on the west coast and in HI, for the rest of you in our race good afternoon.
As the title states, we had a nice sunny release and then rain at the loft. The birds look like they are all here, however it got overcast quick and then just started to rain. As I explained before, it hardly ever rains here and when it does some of the stronger birds just want to hang out. As stated before, once we get some distance on these birds they will trap much quicker. At this point I am not concerned about fast trapping, when we get to the races they are fed in a way that will insure fast trapping. For now they are getting fed all they want and sometimes late in to the morning or early afternoon. When you are releasing well before they were fed the day prior, well I think you get the idea.
Game plan is to return to the same location tomorrow if the weather is good enough. If they look like they are ready we will proceed to a further distance.
Everyone have a great day!
Second update this morning.
We had over 1,000 birds in, falcon showed up and chased the remaining 100+ birds for a few minutes. Please be patient on these last birds trapping, looks like all made it today give or take a few.
First update today below.
Good Sunday morning everyone! Birds are loaded and ready to go, about to hit the road after this update is sent.
Birds are progressing well. They are released in small groups as a way of making sure they do not hit wires or we take a big hit in losses if they decide to go the wrong way. This is not a flat course, these birds will fly over ridges, between mountains, over the desert and forest, over the Columbia Gourge where their are trememendous side winds, flying south to north on a W to NW typical wind course.
We are starting the clock very early this year on trainers so if we get missing or lost birds returning before the birds loaded to train for the day trap in before them they will show up on the race report, whereas if they clock in before the release time they are omitted from the results thus not showing whose birds came in from earlier releases. We state this so there is no confusion on speeds, do not pay attention to speeds. When I get to the release point I make a decision as to when to release based upon cloud cover and sun position and the birds are released a few crates at a time, so do not get caught up about speed. Once we get these birds across the river then we are more inclined to do 2 big releases, and of course activation race and all races are single releases.
Everyone have a great Sunday and hope and pray for good returns in the Apple Cup and all races for that matter!
Good morning everyone, great day to be alive!
Yesterday some of the birds got screwed up by overcast skies later in the morning. At release there was sun in the east, they headed north toward home but some broke off and were just flying around instead of heading home for God only knows why. It got overcast later in the morning and some birds, I am assuming those small groups of 4-5 birds and singles got their bearings screwed up once the overcast set in and are the ones that did not return and a few are returning this morning.
Today we did what I call resetting the birds. They have been working hard and have been fed around 1100 or 1200 each day. Some of the birds want to rush in when they arrive, some mess around outside. So to get their attention again, we left them in the loft and fed them at 7 AM. This will get all the birds on the same even playng field and they should trap in more like I like tomorrow. However, 20 miles just is not enough to burn enough calories and get them thirsty enough to get them to trap on command like they will once they have got out to 60+ miles. It has been unseasonably cool lately, so the birds have no real thirst. It is supposed to get back up to around 80 F this weekend, if it does they will want to drink and eat and they will trap fast. We do not have these issues once we get some distance on them and on race day they always trap fast. Reason being that most of our races the birds we feed early Saturday mornings and we scan the birds after feeding and return to the loft so they can relax. They are then kept in Sunday and fed early AM, loaded late PM for the race which is usually on Mondays. Our loaders are off on the weekends so Sunday loading and Monday racing works best for us, these are the same loaders who get here at 5 AM and load the birds with the lights on in the loft and a big light bar outside the loft over the loading chute so the birds do not see any shadows.
Plan is to train tomorrow again from 20 miles, if all goes well we will start to work up to the top of the ridge and release there a few times before heading toward Satus Pass which is 45 miles.