16 May, 2013

At the Major Crossroads of Tehuantepec Once Again...

Island Girl took her time moving to the NW on Tuesday. To me, she was flying though one of the most intriguing areas of her migratory pathway. There is an extensive area of salt-water bays, lagoons and long, sandy beaches in  this part of Mexico. It appears to be perfect habitat for wintering North American peregrines and, I would bet, an ideal setting for capturing migrants in the fall. It must be loaded with bird life, including shorebirds, ducks, pigeons, doves and waterbirds. I can imagine Island Girl stopping off there to hunt.

This must be a very important area for peregrines.

She flew 207 km (129 miles) for the day, apparently following the coast line for at least part of that time. She knows this area well, having passed through here many times (at least 11) on her travels in the past.

Later in the day, she headed inland for the crossing of Tehuantepec, as she usually does at this point in her migration.

This is the important geographic "waist"  between the Pacific and the Gulf of Mexico and the narrowest part of the country. It is well known to be a major migration corridor for many species of raptors (Broad-winged Hawks, Turkey Vultures, Mississippi Kites and Swainson's Hawks) and many other species of birds.

In the evening, Island Girl put in for the night in an area of sparse, dry vegetation at only 162' elevation. Looks like she slept in a tree. Local photos show a dry forest habitat here with higher mountains to the north.

She was only 600' from the main highway, Mexico Route 190, also part of the Pan-American Highway.

This is her fourth week of migration and she has now reached 16 degrees north latitude and covered 7,520 km (4,673 miles) so far.

Tomorrow she will be heading for Veracruz and the Gulf of Mexico, yet another major transition along her path towards home.

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