Irina arrives in eastern Turkey

Some good news for the tracking project this week is that all three of our satellite-tagged Sociable Lapwings are transmitting strong signals. This greatly improves the accuracy of the location data we receive, helping us to pin point where the migrating flocks are and improving the chances of our national project partners being able to locate birds in the field. The last coordinates we received were from particularly strong signals, which were downloaded on Tuesday, October 1st 2013.

Of note is the particularly fast migration south by Irina who is now in Eastern Turkey.

Our previous monitoring has established that Sociable Lapwings make their migrations in a series of hops rather than flying the whole way to their wintering grounds in one go. These refuelling stops are referred to as the birds’ ‘staging’ and we have found that the lapwings often use the same ‘staging sites’ each year. Typically the places they choose are open areas near water, which as you might expect, provide the best security and feeding opportunities. It is at these staging sites that many hundreds, and on several occasions even thousands, of Sociable Lapwings have previously been found socializing, mid-migration.

As you can see from the map above, between September 23rd and the 28th Ainur (red) has moved only a very short distance further into Turkmenistan and is still in an area of arable land just a few miles south of Lake Talimarzhan (and the Uzbekistan border). Our latest data from Ainur confirms she was still in this location on September 30th.

Boris (purple) has moved about 200km further south west from his last location and in now just east of Stavropol. You can see Boris in all his glory in the dynamic photo at the head of this post which was taken just after he was satellite-tagged in June 2013.

Irina (turquoise) made by far the biggest jump and has pushed on to Eastern Turkey where she was still present on at least Saturday, September 28th.

Which of the birds moves next and where they go will be revealed as soon as we get new locations. To follow these birds and this evolving migration you can sign up to email alerts here.