Sunday 13 August 2017

AWSG Whimbrel tagging; Seeing is believing!

Well we don’t need to wait until JX’s PTT turns on again….” said Chris Hassell and Kerry Hadley at Wader Beach, Roebuck Bay, Broome: JX is the first Whimbrel back home!

Photo 1: JX found and photographed back in Broome at noon on 12-Aug-17. Photo by Kerry Hadley

It was really exciting to see JX's appearance at Roebuck Bay at 12:01, well before we received the signal from the satellite later in the afternoon at 15:21. JX was spotted roosting at Wader Beach during high tide, mixing with a good flock of Knots, Godwits, and Sandpipers etc. (as you can tell from the photo). It is looking a bit thin (abdominal profile = 2) after another day of continuous flight from Indonesia.

Fig 1: Satellite signals showing JX’s home run back to Roebuck Bay
In order to reach Broome at 12:01 on 12-Aug-17, JX has made another 1,091km flight from Bima. Based on the last signal JX sent from Bima at 19:00 on 10-Aug-17, JX could either have stayed at Bima for only a short while, or, it didn’t make a stop at all and flew directly back to Broome. If JX has kept its speed at 41.3km/h as per its flight from Palawan to Bima earlier, it could have reached Broome on 11-Aug-17 at around 21:00 (even before I was typing Project Updates #9)!

Fig 2. The complete migration route of JX

Observation from the field shows that the satellite transmitter and its antenna are at perfect position. Given the sunny weather in Broome, the transmitter must have been well charged by solar power to show us JX’s movement around the Bay after it came home.

JX is now in the good hands (eyes) of the Broome local birdwatchers/observers. After such amazing journey, we hope JX could soon replenish and continue to thrive in the Bay.

It would of course be even better if JX’s transmitter continues to work until the next migration season!

As of 12 August 2017:
Migration tracks of our Whimbrels:

Migration summary on our Whimbrels

Katherine Leung
12 August 2017

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