Wednesday, 16 March 2011

The Turnstone....

....and the age of amazing tracking technology.

Turnstones. Peter Guy.

There are a couple of things to say about the photograph above, most importantly - and with my apologies - I cannot recall the name of the author, and secondly I reckon it has made an appearance on Birds2blog before but I'm not at all worried about that....I like the picture and it is of one of my most favourite waders.

A study group in Australia have recently recaptured a Turnstone which has made the truly amazing 27,000km round-trip migration for the second time. This bird has also achieved being the first wader to have been tracked on its complete migration in successive years, its incredible journey was made even more incredible in that it included a non-stop week-long flight of 7,600km.

This individual had a light-sensor attached to its leg which recorded where the bird was morning and evening alike. In each year the device was attached in mid-April in Victoria in southeast Australia from where the Turnstone migrated the huge distance to Arctic Siberia to breed. Data retrieved so far indicates that the birds generally start the northward migration with an initial non-stop flight of 7,600km to Taiwan and adjacent regions where they refuel before moving on to the Yellow Sea and northern China, then onwards at least another 5,000km to their breeding grounds in northern Siberia by the first week in June.

It seems the tracking of these Turnstones has turned up some surprise in that the return migration has shown to be made using considerable variation in routes taken by different birds - in itself a puzzle - and one such individual has apparently proved that a Turnstone having survived for 20 years following a particular trans-Pacific route of c.27,000km would have flown well in excess of 500,000km in its life-time.


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