Island Girl started her seventh northbound satellite-tagged migration yesterday (April 17th). She left Putu in Chile where she always "winters" and flew north along her usual coastal route. By 6 PM, Chile time, she had flown north 146 km (91 miles) for the day.
She always starts her migration during the week of 11-17 April, at least so far.
Her departure dates vary a bit. Over the past three years she has commenced her movement between 16-17 April, a little later than when she was younger. Whether this minor variation was caused by her advancing age, experience, or her increasing confidence and ability, we just don't know.
Not really sure how she decides when to leave but, no matter, the difference in days is quite small.
Don received the Argos signal shortly after midnight this morning (18 April) which confirmed that she had started her migration sometime after 0744.
Her first signal was located about 3.2 miles offshore and directly in front of her normal perching area. She may have been hunting terns or phalaropes out there. Both are quite vulnerable over the open ocean.
From her initial signal, she flew north past Pichilemu and eventually roosted in some trees in a broken forest area on a hilltop at 4,110' elevation. She was not far from a group of several houses.
This location is still south of Santiago.
The roost site was less than a mile from the main road (Highway 66) that heads south from San Antonio. Our team drove this route many, many times during the study.
She slept about 8 km (5 miles) inland from the Pacific coast.
This was her shortest first flight so far and only about half the distance of her starting flight last year.
One additional comment.
Thanks for the inquiries about the lack of this blog last season.
At that time, I became involved in the most intensive project of my career and it literally demanded all of my time.
My apologies for that but it was necessary.