Thursday, 30 April 2015

Settling In?

Has Kuyurnpa found a new home? It would seem so, for it has now been over 6 months since she settled in the one place in Western Australia's Pilbara region. Last year Kuyu visited Roy Hill station several times, spending about 10 weeks there in September, before heading back through Lorna Glen for another walkabout. But by the end of October, it was back to Roy Hill again, and that is where she has remained ever since.

The above map shows the collection of GPS points (nearly 2000 of them) which we have obtained this year. The cluster to the south-east occurs across a large area of relatively flat spinifex plain, and this is where Kuyurnpa has spent most of her time (i.e. all of February and March this year). Finer detail shows her movements in this period have often been very short, sometimes only travelling 1 - 2 km between roosts, which appear to be random with no favoured roost site selected. But throughout April she has ventured to the north west much more, moving 55 km between roosts on occasion.

This is the longest period our immature eagle, who is now approaching 2 years old, has spent in one location. Although it is much larger than her natal home range, which lies about 430 km to the south, and that of neighbouring eagles on Lorna Glen, it is still interesting to note this more sedentary behaviour after an initial wandering journey which covered about a quarter of WA's area (as shown on the map below - click to enlarge). I am hoping to find out more about Kuyurnpa's behaviour, and hopefully see what she looks like, when I visit Roy Hill Mine in early June this year to screen 'Where Do Eagles Dare?'. More soon!

Kuyurnpa's dispersal path in 2014. Roy Hill is shown with a green arrow. (Note that the northernmost and southernmost fixes are GPS errors.)