All three whimbrel now in China

All three Whimbrels have now landed in southern China.

Migration tracks of our whimbrel.

The first departing Whimbrel JX made its first landing at Guangdong Province on 20-Apr-18 (5-7 days after it departed from Broome). It then applied a “hopping” strategy, making short stops for 4 days each in Guangdong and Zhejiang Province and now staying in mudflat at southern Jiangsu Province.

Second Whimbrel KU depart about 10 days after JX. KU was our “home runner” who made it all the way to the breeding ground and back to Australia last season. This year KU departs 5 days later than last year on 22-Apr-18. Similar to previous year it made a direct long-haul flight to reach southern China as its first stop. However, this time it landed in Guangdong Province rather than Fujian Province where it first stop-over last year.

However, KU didn’t stay for long in its first landing location. Four days later on 30-Apr-18, it migrated north again for 350km and stopped precisely at Xinghua Bay, Fujian Province, the site where it used as its first stop-over site in 2017!

On 26-Apr morning before KU landed on China, it’s flight direction was drifted to the east for nearly 700km. This detour might have costed KU to landed in Guangdong Province rather than its “planned” location in Fujian Province. It would be really interesting to see if KU will use the same stop-over sites as last season as it migrates further on!

After spending the non-breeding season in Eighty Mile Beach in its first and second year of life, Whimbrel LA makes the first northward migration in its life this year. It departs Australia rather late on 24-Apr-18 and make a direct flight of 4,980km to landed in Fujian Province. The area which LA stopover is in the same bay, just 25km south to the area where KU has been using. How does LA know that site is suitable for Whimbrel?! Four days later, LA moved on to reach Jiangsu Province and has been using both mudflat and aquaculture ponds area.

Despite its late departure, LA is now the northern-most Whimbrel among the three. Will it also be the first bird to reach breeding ground?