Saturday, 10 January 2015

To the South... then North

Jarrkanpa is flying high! Check out the GPS fix shown above on the left (click image to enlarge the map) - the altitude reading shows a very modest 2200m above sea level, which is about 1.7 kilometres high! Clearly this young male eagle is learning the ways of his wings, and after 6 weeks in the air is moving about the country with confidence. You can also notice how he has moved quite far away from the small cluster of points near his nest that we saw in the last update, roosting about 2.5km south-west on the second day of this New Year, then on 5th January, roosting ~3.5km north. The point far west into Wallu's home range can probably be explained by its altitude: when soaring on a thermal at such height, it is probably very easy to drift away on the wind and end up quite a distance off course!

It certainly has been a thrill to watch this young male eagle spread his wings with every week. It only seems like yesterday that Kuyurnpa was doing the same thing, branching out further and further from her days of nest confinement. What is she up to now?

Contrary to her normal behaviour of vast wanderings, Kuyurnpa has remained settled in a 'home range' since 31st October, when she sailed in after a fortnightly foray to Lake Carnegie. This small area north-east of the Pilbara town of Newman is about 100 km in diameter, and it's the second time Kuyu has spent more than a month here. The big question now is WHY? There are almost certainly other wedge-tails in this area, but it would seem too early for her to have paired up (previous research has shown most breeding wedgies are more than 5 years old). Perhaps the food supply is particularly good there... but we won't know for sure until I get out there for a look!

A map showing the location of Kuyurnpa's current 'home range', nearly 400 km from her natal nest.

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