09 October, 2011

River of Raptors Team Locates and Photographs Island Girl in Veracruz!

I am very happy to report that a dedicated team of hawkwatchers and banders including Eduardo Martinez, Kashmir Wolf, Irving Chavez and Pilar Gonzalez, from the world famous Veracruz River of Raptors project was able to find and photograph Island Girl for the first time on migration. Here they are looking up at her in Boca del Rio.

Earlier this week, we had contacted several of our friends associated with the project and asked if they could have someone look for our tagged falcon in Veracruz. She seemed to be holding up in the same area of town and we thought there was a good chance of locating her there.

So Norma Ferriz, Randy Breaux and Alberto Martinez all got online and contacted the crew at Cardel.

Yesterday, Eduardo and his friends took some time off during the peak of migration and went down to look for Island Girl.

Here is Eduardo's e-mail message which I received this morning...

"Hola Bud,

Yesterday we went searching for Island Girl and luckily, we found her!

First, we went to its last location reported Oct 7 at 7:00 am UTC, it was a radio station tower and there we spotted a peregrine falcon siting atop the main antenna. After a while of watching and trying to take pictures we realized it was not Island Girl, but a younger bird. So we looked around and spotted another peregrine circling atop some buildings near the coast. We went there but lost sight of it.

We looked again to the online map and found that a new location was reported for that day (Oct 8), south of the WTC where the NAOC was held. It was another big communication tower and there we found not only Island Girl sitting at the uppermost section of the tower, but two other peregrines occupying the two lower sections of the tower!

(NOTE: Although difficult to see at this resolution, her antenna (but not her transmitter) is clearly visible in the e-mailed version of the photo.)
We tried to get some decent pictures of her, but unfortunately neither our digiscoping equipment or abilities were good enough for that, so I hope the pictures I'm attaching are of some utility for you.

So thanks to their efforts, this is the first time she has been observed on migration that we know of. What a great sighting. I wrote them immediately and let them know how much we appreciated it.

Eduardo responds;

"Hey Bud!

Thanks! It was our pleasure, and actually really fun to go searching for Island Girl, especially because we ended up having some Chiltepin (hot!) shrimp to celebrate! :) I'm sorry we couldn't go sooner, but you know this days are really crazy down here with the River of Raptors. I was afraid that she has flown away already, but it seems that Veracruz city is a popular staggering site for many peregrines, since we saw 8 of them just in the Boca del Rio area just yesterday.
Please, use the pictures as you need them. The first batch of pictures were taken by me and the second two in a second email by Kashmir Wolf. With us were also Irving Chavez, who I think you met here once, and Pilar Gonzalez.

Off to the banding station to trap some raptors! I'll be waiting eagerly to see the pictures in your blog. Let me know if we can be of any other help for you guys.


Sometimes the nicest things happen to remind us all how international this bird and this project really is.

Here is a final photo of the beach hotel in Boca del Rio where Island Girl was perching (and no doubt hunting) earlier.

Muy muchas gracias to our friends in Mexico!

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