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My Barcelona Dream Part 9


My Barcelona Dream Part 9


A short time between this article and the last… can only mean news of some sort….


Well my good news is not good news yet. Hopefully by the end of this article it will be. The planned races I have been building up for have had a change due to bad weather. Talbenny with the Irish Honing Union National Flying Club (IHUNFC) has been postponed a week. Now as I sit here on marking day the following week on the 1/09 we should be marking today. Again however, marking is put off a day due to bad weather forecast for Saturday racing. Marking will hopefully take place on Friday the 2/09 for a Sunday 04/09 race. This means that the planned INFC young bird national will most likely be a no go for me with birds now expected to be released the day before basketing for this race.


I have to say I am eager to get these birds off. They are in the best condition I can get them, I think, and particularly 2 of them are in super form. My anticipation is keeping me awake at night, a feeling I’m sure a lot of you get when racing. If the birds do as well as I expect I will be singing from the rooftops, however we all know in pigeon racing I will just as easily and more likely be drinking from the gutters… we shall see?... I will finish the article and update you all after the race.


So the birds were released into a WNW wind of 16km an hour to cross the Irish sea and make it home. The organisation at the racepoint and the one I am with for this race, the IHUNFC were all up at 10:30am. I was expecting the winning birds to be home within 3 hours to Dublin. I sat and waited with a lot of anticipation as the time of 1:30 came and went, still with no sign of my birds. A friend of mine joined me for the wait and we were just chatting the time away and waiting. Jumping at every movement in the sky near the loft. I went to make us a tea at 2:30 and whilst making it Martin called me out as a bird had landed on the roof. it was one of the race birds and to say my heart was pounding at this point would be an understatement. A little cheq hen. I was delighted. She came down very quickly and trapped to be clocked at 2:32. I was delighted and over the moon. She may not be high up in the result but my aim was to get them home and this is one that made it from my 7. We kept waiting for another hour or so as you can never tell with channel races into Ireland what will happen. I duly went to the club for 5pm to get the clock checked and within my own club I have finished 2nd.


../../../Desktop/IMG_9867.jpgSo this is ‘Hope’. I will give her that name as she is now the first bird in this process that shows some promise. She has tackled her first real hurdle I have given her and been successful. Success on this road may be judged as how much you win by others. My judgement of success in this journey is in getting as many birds home from each stepping stone as possible in an effort to build a team that will one day achieve the “Dream”. This will be a long journey and is only beginning. ‘Hope’, is with a bit of luck, the first of many that will be there one day to be sent for an attempt at Barcelona. One day it will happen.


I suppose a little info on Hope would be interesting to some of you, considering what I am at. She is one of the only few in the loft that does not have grandparents that have flown the Barcelona international. This shows that it is not necessary all the time to have this in the loft. That is not to say that she is not steeped in extreme distance bloodlines for she really is. On her sire side the cock is out of Frank Kay’s loft in Yorkshire. A truly magnificent handling bird and by accidental planning is actually the sire. I contacted Frank last year with the dream in mind and got a beautiful pair from him. Frank flies Barcelona at 869 miles. Some feat in itself. His are true marathon birds with stamina to match any. The dam is out of a hen from Jim Donaldson of Peterhead Scotland. Again a beautiful hen. Actually when I got a pair from Jim they were supposed to be a hen and cock. They turned out to be 2 hens though and so I was left with a conundrum about mating for these hens. The dam herself of the blue he sent is actually his Ancenis hen. A fantastic racing bird for him and also a great breeder. As it is extreme distance I have in mind I decided to use the bull system on the 2 hens of Jim’s, mating them with the cock of Frank Kay blood lines. This worked a treat and I produced some nice youngsters from these matings. So an accidentally planned mating you might say.


The excitement I felt is something I haven’t had for a few years. This is the first race I have had in 4 years and a milestone in the journey to Barcelona. I will follow my instincts and will keep to the general rule of not racing youngsters. I will however if I feel the desire to train next year again a few youngsters to have a go at the Nationals. And if not I will just have to suck it up like everyone and carry on with the remaining birds in the loft. The second disappointment is that as this race was moved back a week the release day was a day before marking for the INFC Penzance young bird national. This second race I was aiming for. I would have loved to put this little hen back I the basket again for this but not with no time for recovery. Maybe next year depending on numbers I may have 2 small teams for these races. We shall see….


Judging by the wind direction and force I would guess that with the west in the wind so strong that the birds for the most part would have made their way up the west coast of England to cross somewhere north of Dublin as that is where the main convoy of birds would have been heading. The early birds in the south of Ireland would have been birds I think that crossed the channel near the race point. One can only wonder when it comes to what our birds do we may never know. I deem my own attempt a success as I have one bird returned. The real big disappointment is that others did not. I still have hope that 1 or 2 may turn up within the next week or so. Plans going forward to improve the chances of the birds will be re drawn and torn apart. I’m sure we all do this through the off season. What could I have done better if anything. It’s how we as fanciers who would like to be successful work through our failures. In my case I have quite a few to rectify and will work on this through the off season myself.



The 50 odd youngsters still in the loft will be getting that all important 50 miler at the end of September so that will probably when I write my next article and update on returns and how many I will be wintering to the yearling stage. And don’t forget the Dublin show will be soon enough and I will be there with youngsters for sale from nothing but Barcelona bloodlines. Some of which will have grandparents having flown Barcelona International between them a mere 7 times. Bloodlines like this do not come along often. So if you are looking for a bargain please give me a shout at the show or before if you would like.


Until next time

Michael Feeney

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