Wednesday, 26 January 2011

The Amazing Journey

Back in August I mentioned 'The Amazing Journey' website - Where you can follow the migration of the Sociable Lapwing and experience their extraordinary migration in real-time. The 9 Critically Endangered birds have been tracked from their breeding grounds in Kazakhstan to their wintering areas across North Africa, the Middle East and into India.

The 9 birds are called Abaj, Alia, Dinara, Erzhan, Jibek, Lena, Raushan, Svetlana and Tatyana.

So far most of the birds have taken the 'typical' - though still quite impressive route of west out of Kazakhstan before heading south typically through southwest Russia and Georgia down into eastern Turkey and beyond into the Sudan.

One of the most interesting birds, Dinara has shown (possibly for the first time) the 'Eastern Flyway' used by the species, this bird left the breeding grounds in Central/Eastern Kazakhstan, flew south to Uzbekistan, then southeast to Pakistan then southwest through Pakistan before heading south into northern India near Ahmedabad (Gujarat). Another bird, Raushan has also moved in a similar direction. Sociable Plover were known to winter in the north of India, what was not known was how they got there. This incredible research is helping to provide answers that will hopefully lead to some form of protection within its migration route and wintering grounds.

In the map below you can see Dinara’s route plotted in red. The blue routes to and from Kazakhstan and The Sudan denote the westerly flyway that satellite tracking in previous years has confirmed and are primarily the routes provided by Erzhan and Abaj. The green dots represent all known Sociable Lapwing records from 1850 – 2010 with the dot size scaled to flock size.

This is a Birdlife International Preventing Extinctions Project sponsored by the RSPB and Swarovski Optik. All images and maps are © Birdlife International (2011).

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