by Dave Black, Sunderland, England [Click Here For PDF Version]
My name is Dave Black born 1977 and I live in Sunderland England. I am married to Louise and we have two children Stephen and Alex. I also have TOBYJUG, the dog, and the mother in law Linda Lousardi . My interests include supporting Sunderland AFC and watching Stevo play footie.
I got into tipplers at the age of 15 so coming up to 20 years of tipplering. I met a bloke by the name of Gavin Craggs in Sunderland a very knowledgeable bird man .He lived close by; he was dominating in the air at the time. Around that time he had direct birds from Eddie Plester and Dave Sutherland who also had them from Eddie Plester. Gavin also had some blues Hughes type from Eddie Plester. I used to referee for Gavin who has since left the sport but we remain best friends ever since he was my best man at the wedding.Gavin transformed the northeast of tippler flying to a new level. These tipplers Gavin brought to our region are second to none and their times have gone through the roof. Gavin was my mentor, he got me addicted to tippler flying. So this is where I started Eddie Plesters and the Plester blues from Gavin. At the time he also had 3 silver Bodens to fly as a kit, these were sent from Birmingham club highly recommended by Eddie Plester. I always took a fancy to them and thought they had something superior to the Plester birds in size and stature and the way they flew. I was always going to have some of those. It was about 8 years ago I noticed the Bodens always took the placings on the longer days and kitting in the dark seemed to be better than most. So I researched on who was at the top and how I could get these birds.
This is how I came into contact with Verley Mignott. Verley only ever kept the Boden strain and I think he has flown 20 hours something like 8 times. He had them from Paul Boden and Jim Mcdonald who had them direct from Jack Boden himself. I tried and tried for years contacting him before he finally gave in and sold me some. This is where my Bodens came from at the start. I couldn’t believe my luck when they came by the courier service to the door. They did cost me but well worth the money.
The next thing was I knew these Boden pigeons never really hit it off as young birds so if I wanted to be in contention for 8 competitions a year I knew I would have to cross something in to them to give them vigour for young bird flying. This is when I introduced the pilots.
The George Pilot tipplers were brought up into Sunderland from Manchester by Jimmy Reynolds in the 80s. Jimmy lived about 10 houses along in the same street as Gavin Craggs these pilot birds have had nothing put into them since they came to Sunderland. They are as inbred as they come – little fire crackers. I’ve always admired these little blue strain of tipplers and thought why not cross 2 former world record holder birds together. Jack Boden breaking world records with of 20:20 hours and 20:40 hours and George Pilot with his record of 20: 46 hours. With Pennywell Estate being the hotbed at the time for tipplers I came into contact via Jimmy Reynolds the Pilot pigeons. With many of the Sunderland lads by now crossing Pilots with Plesters and Plesters being of Boden type anyway I knew that these would hit it off straight away as young bird flying in the area was at a new level. I found by pairing any Pilot cock to any Boden hen it did not matter which pair I chose. Once you get the young birds from these to a good standard of training with no mistakes and dark trained, feed them up and they would do the business.
It was when I moved house into a new location that I could give these 2 strains a real good go. Straight away I was taking young birds over 18 hours twice in respective years then there was the 4 in a row young bird national wins in stupendous weather conditions along with other wins and many placings. I knew I had something special in my hands even though I’ve seen my kits of young birds go to the 19 hour barrier and not get my time, I know one day it will happen. Dave Black also flew twice over 20 hours and is part of the NTU 20 hour Elite club. WHAT IS YOUR FLYING POSITION LIKE ?
The present position is not as good as previous locations however it is very nice to watch tipplers throughout the day and proven easy to settle tipplers living by a lot of fields and countryside. There isn’t much street lighting but I am never moving house again so I will have to cope. I have experienced no falcon problems so far therefore happy days.
DESCRIBE YOUR LOFT SET UP
I bought a brand new 32 ft long loft from a racing magazine which since moving house twice in a year I have had to reduce the size which now holds 15 large cages with dowel fronts and solid mesh bottoms with drawers. The rest of the set up is situated in the garage and has 2 big dowelled rooms for cocks and hens and 18 individual kit boxes. The loft also is well alarmed and a constant video camera system
With this new success in tipplers the people who would come and show an interest on fly day would be amazed. They all wanted to be part of this event seeing birds dropping to the lights. I was soon showing other lads how I was doing things and giving them birds and helping set their lofts up .
WHO HAS ACQUIRED BIRDS FROM YOURSELF?
A lot of the Sunderland flyers too many to mention. I’ve sent them to Ireland,Wales and the Midlands. Also birds have went to Bulgaria, Canada, Germany Kosovo and Malta.
ANY ADVICE FOR THE NOVICE?
Join a club with consistent, successful flyers .Go and see how they do it as many times as you can. Ask lots and lots of questions and take in ideas, of how you want to do things.
Lee Black, who is my cousin, I started him off with young birds, droppers and stock birds. I built him his boxes put in his electrics and even gave him a loft. He could come to my loft and take his pick, it was another person in the sport as I see it. Any advice he wanted he got it but what was about to happen with his kit this year was totally beyond my expectation. Going into the start of this year Lee had 6 flying hens to start off and 6 flying cocks. He had kept his novice from the year before not really pressuring his birds doing 9:59 hours and just getting the hang of dark training. Lee started 6 hens off in January in freezing conditions but always knew 1 bird was failing dropping away. He soon got down to his 5 hens. The 5 hens were made up of 2 Pilot/Boden crosses, one blue and one grey half sisters. They were from the same blue 09 pilot cock he had borrowed on to a silver print Boden hen and a silver chequer Boden hen which Lee had taken because I didn’t think they were as good as what I had picked out to breed from myself. How wrong I was! The other 3 hens in the kit were 3 Bodens, a silver, a silver chequer and a light silver chequer. Their times flow this year as follows; 1st fly – 16:05 hrs, 2nd fly- 18:16 hrs, 3rd fly – 21:00 hrs, 4th fly –long day fly…one bird put down early on, it came back and rejoined and flew on until 19:40 hrs. His 3 grey cocks also flew 16:30 hrs a private fly and 19:45 hrs on the cock only fly.
Lee could not have got these results without his own hard work staying up till 3 in the morning quite often to drop his kits. He also has had his fair share of luck with very limited attacks.