24 April, 2010

Roosting Again Above 16,000 Feet!

Island Girl is making really good time migrating through the mountain highlands of Peru.

In just three days, she is more than half-way across the country and has travelled well past Lima.

Yesterday, she flew 368 km (228 miles) past the marshes, high altitude lakes, ponds and extensive grasslands (pampas) of the Puna region.

She roosted on the south ridge of 17,000 foot Nevado Alcay, a snow-covered mountain located about 44 km (27 miles) SW of Lago Junin. The site was just 4.6 km (3 miles) above Highway 18.

We first discovered and described this type of high altitude roosting among migrant peregrines four years ago when Linda, another one of our Chilean radio-tagged peregrines, roosted just below 16,000 feet. High altitude roosting by peregrines had not been described prior to that event and was a surprise to everyone on the team.

Last night, Island Girl perched at 16, 279 feet, nearly equaling her own record set last year of 16, 302 feet, a difference of only 23 feet in elevation.

Remarkably, both of these records were set within one day of each other, 16, 302' on 22 April 2009 and 16, 279' on 23 April 2010 by the same falcon.

Last year, Island Girl spent two nights at high elevation before dropping down to the coast. We'll see if she repeats this behavior in the next day or two.

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