It’s been an exciting few weeks watching for updates on seaturtle.org (the website that hosts our satellite telemetry data) – armchair biology at its best!! One of our transmittered curlews had already left for California (via Nevada) in early June and we wondered when the next bird would go … Turns out, all three left between July 4th and July 6th. I couldn’t be more excited about the data that these birds are helping us gather!
Both females have migrated at times when their transmitters are in recharge mode (the transmitters are set to transmit for 5 hours and then recharge for 24 hours) so we’ve been able to get stopover locations but not actual in-flight locations.
In contrast, we’ve been able to gather in-flight locations for both males and I’m glad we’ve been able to get some of each.
“Curley” – left on June 8, 1-day stopover in Nevada, and arrived in CA on June 10. She made a lot of local movements (10-40 km) in her first 2 weeks there and then she settled into an area near Kettleman City in the southern portion of California’s Central Valley for about 10 days and recently started exploring again.
“Ada” – looks to have taken off during the fireworks on July 4th and stopped over near Yerington, NV. The next day she arrived to an area about 8 miles NE of Merced, California and she has remained in that vicinity since.
“Borah” – also took off the night of July 4th and flew S towards the Great Salt Lake before veering SW into NV. 24 hours later we got some in-flight locations as it passed just E of Las Vegas. His next locations came from from agricultural land near the Salton Sea and the next day he had crossed over into Mexico. He has since settled into an area near the mouth of the Colorado River, just N of where it flows into the Gulf of California.
“Emmett” – took off the night of July 6th and flew SW past Steens Mountain in Oregon. His next locations were as he crossed the Sierras S of Reno, NV and arrived to the Central Valley S of San Joaquin, CA by July 9 and then moved a bit further S to an area between Kettleman City and Stratford.
Though they are currently within 20 miles of each other, it’s pretty interesting that “Emmett” and “Curley”, whose breeding territories in Idaho were about 3 miles apart, have used areas within a mile of each other in California! Pretty fascinating stuff, huh?!
Now that each bird has been relatively stationary for a while, the next question is whether the birds will stay put for the winter or if they might exhibit some other movements. Please join me in crossing your fingers and toes that these 4 intrepid curlews will survive the rest of the non-breeding season and come back to Idaho in March!