25 October, 2013

Arrival in South America

Yesterday, Island Girl left the Azuero Peninsula in Panama without stopping off for long.

Instead she just took off SE across the Bay of Panama as she has done many times before. She knows this route very well by now. I suspect that during this crossing she could see the mountain cloud line to the east to help keep her oriented.

Not that she needed it.

She flew 388 km (241 miles) across the open Pacific Ocean and reached the shores of Colombia, arriving safely on the South American continent once again.

She must be at her peak condition after resting up (and fattening up) for so long in Limon. Powerful, strong flier and truly a master of the air.

Not to mention a black-eyed nightmare to most other birds.

It appears that she landed in Colombia just north of the coastal town of Bahia Solano, at least that is where the GPS signals showed her to be. Perhaps our friend and colleague in Colombia, Alex Ospina, might want to add some comments. Alex...?

Bahia Solano is a small "resort" town situated at the mouth of a river. It is surrounded by truly dense tropical rain forest and there are many good photos of the area on Google Earth that I recommend you view. If you check them all out, you will see the forested ridge where she roosted, the town and especially the isolated, broad sand or mud flat that exists here on the coast. It is created by the outflow of the river.

This sand flat will be a magnet for migrant and wintering shorebirds and you can bet they will be there in abundance. I would also expect that there are lots of pigeons and doves in town for her to hunt.

She slept on a ridge, right above the airport south of town, at 1,159'.

Check out her heading over the last 14 days or so on our tracking page. It is such an elegant SE line. She is not wasting any time here.

I am wondering if as she gets older her migration lines straighten out more

Think of the experiences and knowledge she is accumulating over these many years. All of these days, all of these miles, all of these hunts, all of her roost site decisions, all of her interactions with other peregrines, and with her potential predators. We have no idea what that must be like. We can only imagine the intensity that she lives with each and every day, every second really, of her life.

I have always said that everything an adult peregrine does is art. They don't waste any moves. All of these experiences can't help but build a better and better hunter, perfectly attuned to her environment and her prey.

Old haggards (adult peregrines) are truly something else. I feel that we are all so privileged to see so deeply through this window of technology into their lives.

So as we get to South America once again, many thanks as always to Don McCall, Mark Prostor, Paul Howie and the crew at Microwave Telemetry, our original field crews (Christian, Giannina, Tom, Zach, Jesus, especially Kathy) and all of the members of the Falcon Research Group that made this effort possible.

Not sure who is reading this blog (hi there) but keep in mind the people above who made it all happen for us.


Anonymous said...

Great job guys and gals I've been watching now for five years and Island Girl has been facinating to watch. Two years ago on her way up to Baffin Island she passed by Sprinfield Il. I wish I could have seen her that would have been so great. I think she had to hang around in Canada for a few days so the weather got better at Baffin Island. Again great job I'm enjoying the posts. Thanks Tom Tucker

Luis said...

hello Bud, A lot of colombian birders are following Island's Girl tracking maps and your blog. Beny Altamiranda posted from panama. I shared the link to her tracking map on the facebook page for the colombian birders web,(RNOA), more than 3,000 members in this page. saludos
Luis G. Olarte

Anonymous said...

My staff and I look every day to see where she is. It is a morning ritual for all of us. Thank you for this chance to see nature at its best.
From Edmonton Alberta, Canada

Anonymous said...

I have been watching Island Girl every day since she left Baffin Island in late September. This is the third migration I've tracked on a daily basis from my home in Anacortes. Thank you for your moving narratives about her. What a way to start each day! I am grateful to all of you who have made it possible for us to partake in this extraordinary flight with Island Girl.

Anonymous said...

I share all the same sentiments with our fellow birders. Thank you FRG.
Yes....the adult peregrine...