13 May, 2010

Taking the Highland Route in Mexico

These peregrines are full of surprises.

Island Girl "kicked into high gear" on Wednesday as expected, but then she took a new and unexpected route to the NW that we haven't seen before.

After initially completing her crossing through the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, she covered 438 km (272 miles) on her journey back to the Arctic.

However, instead of flying directly over to the Gulf coast as we expected, she appears to have stayed on her NW heading and followed the foothills of the mountains, thereby bypassing Veracruz completely. She steadily gained elevation and reached the edge of the high plateau of central Mexico. If we simplistically connect her satellite dots, it looks like she overflew the cities of San Juan Batista, Cordoba and then went inland before reaching Jalapa, well known to all Veracruz hawkwatchers.

She roosted in trees near the summit of a well-forested mountain at 8,708'. She was about 145 km (90 miles) east of Mexico City and perhaps 100 km inland from the coast.

This is an area of high relief with some agricultural terracing on the lower slopes and two deep river valleys. Her location was near a town called Tetela De Ocampo.

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