Saturday, 11 January 2014
No - your eyes do not deceive you! The long orange line connecting several red dots on the above map shows the largest movement made by any of our tracked eagles to date. The culprit is Wallu, who for six consecutive months has remained within his territory near the south-eastern corner of the Lorna Glen study area. This area is about 8km wide and is shown by the cluster of red dots above.
Today I checked the tracking data and it revealed that, around 12 noon on 9th January, he had paid a small visit to the far south-east, crossing the border of the property (white line), and returning to roost 'at home' again that night. He repeated this visit the next day, this time heading almost directly east, before returning. Then today, he left his home range around 10am and again headed south-east, crossing the Lorna Glen boundary around midday. When the next GPS fix was taken at 3pm, he was traveling at 30km/h along a creek line at a location nearly SIXTY KILOMETRES from his territory! The 4pm and 5pm GPS fixes show Wallu's return journey, which by 8pm had brought him right back home to a favourite roost at - guess where - 'the larder': a well-populated rabbit warren within his home range. You can have a closer look at the map by clicking the picture above.
We don't know why Wallu made this huge journey - perhaps he was looking for another mate, fighting over territory with a rival male, investigating food supply in other areas, or simply 'checking out the scenery'. Further tracking data will hopefully reveal if this type of movement is normal for an apparently sedentary breeding adult in the non-breeding season - or if it was just a random Wallu walkabout.