by Oskar Zovich
Left Toronto a hot and humid high 30 or low 40 degree Celsius. Few hours later Kathy and I landed at Belfast airport and found ourselves freezing our behinds at ten centigrade and rain. Our friend Bobby Dunseith came to pick us up and took us to the Shannon’s home where Anne and Harry made us feel truly welcome. Their home was our home for the next couple of weeks. Ann and Harry took us everywhere visiting some of the most beautiful scenic places.
But none more special than the lofts I was about to see in Belfast. Harry also arranged a visit to England to see more fantastic pigeons, pigeon fanciers and a hospitality level second to none.
We had a fantastic time in both places, to say the least. As I go along with different photos, I will try to detail something about the photo so that you gain a better perspective of the wonderful people and birds I saw.
Above two dark photos of Harry dropping three youngsters in the dark while working his droppers. By the way, those (droppers) were nowhere near as good as the ones he had in 2000. There are three young ones on the roof just as they landed at around 1am. Notice the winter coat he is wearing. By this time I was an icicle, after all we are talking 29 of June. Irish summer! Notice how little light he uses while dropping the young ones. Some of those were not even six weeks old, yet they flew so calm and steady not nervous at all when landing.
The other photos are of his beautiful looking hens (left) in the fly pen and the closer two are Harry’s young flyers, three of which I had the pleasure to time on the first young bird fly. Weather was anything but ideal, yet they still managed to win the Irish section with a time of 15.30. Lovely badges indeed, perfect for flying in the dark.
Harry on a step ladder taking three and a half week old squeaker to the house roof, about fifty to sixty feet away from the coop. The little ones are then enticed to fly to the coop where one or two droppers are being worked. Right – his young flyers, three of which I had a pleasure to time on the first young bird fly. Weather was anything but ideal yet they still managed to win the Irish section with a time of 15.30.
Manuel holding one of his almost pure white Tipplers…working hard to breed more pure whites. I’m of the opinion, it’s only matter of time before he succeeds.
About the man…very down to earth makes you feel at home as soon as you meet him and it gives you the feeling as if you knew the person forever. On the fly day of July 1st he took me to visit different flyers but because of poor weather, to say the least, we were not able to see too many good performances or take pictures (rain, windy as well) So you see, it is not only us guys who have to put up with the bad weather. To the right – old pair, cock is 15 years old and still doing the job. Youngster from this pair are here in Canada, hopefully for many years to come. Top right – Manuel’s breeders.
Manuel’s kit of hens that went over 19 and 20 hrs. I believe we just might have some youngsters here in Canada from these ladies.
Wesley Ferguson and his outstanding collection of heavy inbred “Billinghams.” Well what can I say….true gentleman, made me feel so good knowing he truly wanted to see me, to spend some time together talking birds having lunch and a drink…..and naturally a cup of tea before I left. Top right – exceptionally well put together cock as are the two blue cocks below. Their superb conformation cannot go unnoticed. The same goes for Wesley’s hens on the next page.
Wesley’s superb hens. Doesn’t get much better than this. Notice the healthy feathering on each bird and the look each hen exudes.
Bobby and I got to know each other some 16 years ago through a mutual friend, the late Gordie Hamilton, who knew Bobby as a young man growing up in Belfast. So when Bobby came to visit his wife’s relatives, who by the way live in Pickering, I was excited. Gordie lived in Guelph and phoned me to see if I would be interested in coming with him to see Bobby. Didn’t have to ask twice, I was more then willing to meet one of the best in the tippler fraternity. Gordie picked me up and in no time we were in Pickering. Talk about fast driving…the man was flying. After being introduced to each other, the talk in no time, turned to tipplers and it continued for a few hours. We took Bobby to visit a number of different lofts and did more of the same in 1998 on his last visit to Canada. It continued on with my visit to Ireland in 2000 and again this year when he picked Kathy and I at the Belfast airport. He gave us a lift to Shannon’s place where we stayed. Bobby also took me to visit a number of different members of the club; however, the weather was not very cooperative because of the rain. We were also treated to accommodations and a wonderful dinner by the Dunseiths.Irish hospitality at its best. To the left Bobby Dunseith, his wife Ann and I, and just below the dreaded cliffs where the falcon watches Bobby’s birds. Bottom left, Bobby shows us his outstanding and nice handling badge and on the right one of Bobby’s prized stock birds.