26 October, 2012

Arriving in South America

Island Girl has now entered Colombia, so she has once again officially reached another continent on her way south.

Since I love reading Don's personal observations (which he has expanded greatly over the years and especially now that he has retired), I am going to include this one too.

"Hi Everyone,
Island Girl is now in Colombia.  Yesterday morning she flew east across the Gulf of Panama for approximately 200 km (124 mi) before probably making landfall in southeast Panama; her 1400Z GPS signal shows her still flying east over the water, and a straight line connected to the 2200Z signal then leads south over the water, but as always, the straight lines "connecting the dots" don't necessarily mean the bird flew that exact route - she almost certainly continued east to the mainland before turning south.
And after she did turn south, she flew another 257 km (160 mi), or about one third of the way down the Pacific Coast of Colombia, and roosted about 5 kilometers inland."
As Don notes, it is most likely that she reached the Darien coast in Panama instead of taking the longer over-ocean route directly to Colombia. The distance across the Gulf of Panama is about 187 km (116 miles). Given that distance, it is possible that she could have seen the cloud line high over the Andes as she crossed the Gulf.

Either way, she is now migrating over very dense, humid and wet tropical forest.
Last night, she was about a quarter of the way across Colombia and approximately 191 km (118 miles) south of the Panama border. 
Keep in mind that even though she is now in South America, she is still in the northern hemisphere. Her last position was about 5 degrees north of the equator. As I have stated here before, most North Americans don't realize that the majority of Colombia, Venezuela, the Guianas and even parts of Brazil are in the northern hemisphere.
Island Girl roosted in the forest at about 800' elevation and not far from the beaches of the Pacific. Those beaches should now be loaded with North American shorebirds.
She was about 12 km (7 miles) south of the village of Nuqui which, according to Google Earth, has a small airport. Now that has to be a very interesting little place.
Thanks again to Alex Ospina for the description of his country.

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