09 October, 2012

Crossing the Gulf of Mexico

Yesterday, Island Girl continued her flight south across the Gulf.

She has chosen the longest possible overwater route that she could select, electing to remain at sea for the entirety of this leg of her journey.

She flew 487 km (303 miles) over open water before roosting again, well away from shore. It is likely that she slept on another ship as Don reports that her midnight signal showed movement of about 16 mph.

Keep in mind that if she flies at several thousand feet elevation, she can see for a very long way in all directions and find many potential roosts out in the Gulf, especially ships.

Hopefully, the people onboard such vessels have a benevolent attitude towards falcons.

It is also important to understand that she is not the only bird out there. She is no doubt in company with a huge variety of passerines making their journey to the south too. And they will also be looking for potential perches out there and making their way towards them.

So I doubt if she is lacking food. There is no place for a bird to hide over the ocean.

Several observers have reported peregrines landing on cruise ships in the Gulf during fall migration so this is not unusual.

And while the Gulf of Mexico is a vast body of water, it is relatively small compared to the Pacific Ocean. And several peregrines have made it all the way to Hawaii. I once had the great and unexpected pleasure of observing an adult female peregrine flying over the Parker Ranch above the Kona coast on the Big Island.

At last signal, Island Girl was 249 km (155 miles) NE of Veracruz. I would expect her to have arrived on land in Mexico sometime today.


Anonymous said...

I will never get over the wonderment and insight of your research! Island Girll makes for incrediblly exciting reading.
A Gardner

Pam in British Columbia said...

There are so many of us that enjoy checking on Island Girl's progress each day.
Thank you Bud on all your efforts.