Monday, 28 April 2014

Back to the Desert

I've just returned from a 2 week field trip in remote Western Australia where intermittent internet access only just allowed me to keep in touch with Kuyurnpa's tracking data. Now it's time to give you an update!

In a remarkable journey that has now spanned nearly a month, this incredible wandering Wedge-tail has now flown over FOUR THOUSAND kilometres across the Gascoyne and Pilbara regions of outback Australia. She headed north from her natal territory and settled briefly on the Pilbara coast only a few hundred kilometres from the well-known tourist destination Broome, before returning back inland and exploring the vast parallel sand dunes of the Great Sandy Desert. Latest tracking data shows Kuyurnpa's roost somewhere between Karijini and Rudall River National Parks, south-west of the Great Sandy in the central Pilbara. This point is shown in the above picture, which you can enlarge by clicking the image. If you happen to be travelling in this area, keep you eyes out for an eagle with an aerial! And please get in touch and/or send photos if you happen to 'meet' out wonderful Kuyu!

Sunday, 13 April 2014


Check out THIS! Kuyurnpa has moved an incredible distance, travelling just over ONE THOUSAND KILOMETRES in only the last 3 days! Her roost tonight is located 640km (as the eagle flies) from her natal nest. This is the longest distance ever recorded for the species in such a short time... previous records taken months apart showed the record distance from a banding site to a recovery site (where a juvenile has been resighted months later) to be about 800km. You can really get a sense of the distance moved by looking at Kuyurnpa's flight on an Australian scale.

More tracking news soon!

Monday, 7 April 2014

Gidjee Sighting

Today some good news came in from scientists working at Lorna Glen this month. They made sightings of Gidjee, Mulga AND Kuyurnpa over the last few days! It's always reassuring to get sight records of these birds to ensure they appear in good physical health, even though we can get a reasonable idea of how they are faring from the remote tracking data. Thanks to ecologist Dr. Colleen Sims, I'm able to show you a photo of Gidjee (who has a PTT) and her mate Mulga (untagged), perched near a very green wetland at Lorna Glen. This area is a low-lying patch of ground which was inundated several weeks ago, and the eagle family has been spending much time here, almost certainly because of the prey animals attracted to the water.

Here is a closer look at Gidjee's back - you can just make out the PTT and aerial on her back! Thanks heaps for the picture Colleen :)

Friday, 4 April 2014

Spiralling Out

Another day, another massive distance! Kuyurnpa is now really exploring far and wide from her birthplace, and over the last 6 days has covered an INCREDIBLE 1200kms! Her roost position tonight was near the north-western corner of Lorna Glen - but before reaching this point she had some travelling to do.

Kuyurnpa left the edge of Lake Carnegie (pictured centre right in the above map) on Wednesday morning and headed north, stopping overnight on what appears (from the aerial photographs) to be a patch of sand dunes, a distance of 200km. She then spent Thursday going south-west, roosting last night just south of a chain of wetlands, which probably still contain water considering the amount of rain which has fallen since January. Today she took of towards home again - does this mean she is heading back to see mum and dad again soon? In three days we will find out. Stay tuned!

Before I sign off - here's a map of Kuyu's movements on a much larger scale, showing the lower half of Western Australia. For the last 9 months we've had to zoom right in to the Lorna Glen study area to look at the small distances covered by our adults (except for Wallu's short walkabout back in January). Here Kuyurnpa is beginning to demonstrate how this species really is capable of covering huge distances in a relatively short space of time. She is just one of the (possibly hundreds) of juvenile wedge-tails who have fledged and begun their independent wandering period in WA this year. I wonder what the others are doing?