Weather smart migration
It appears that both our satellite tagged Whimbrels are highly capable of predicting weather, especially typhoon (the equivalent of tropical cyclone).
Last month when LA departed Kamchatka Peninsula, there were two large typhoons, Soulik and Cimaron (Fig 1), about 3,000km away from Kamchatka. LA might have sense the typhoon and therefore made an “escape” early by flying south-east?
After flying continuously for more than 6 days, LA finally landed on Papua New Guinea. This single flight was nearly 7,000km, and the average speed was >46km/h! It is a surprise to see LA using a completely different southward migration route from KU and KS in 2017. It is yet to know whether this is a “regular” migration route for Whimbrels which breed in eastern Siberia or if LA is indeed making an escape from the typhoons, hopefully LA will reveal if the satellite transmitter continues to work.
LA is now staging at Abede River estuary called Deception Bay at the Gulf of Papua with dozens of islands in various sizes. Over the past month, LA has only moved between two feeding areas about 7km apart.
KU faced similar challenges by Typhoon Trami which centred west of the Philippines and Taiwan in the past week. After staging in Ying Kou, Liaoning Province at the Yellow Sea for 52 days, KU departed on 25-Sep, which is only a day later comparing to previous year.
However, probably to avoid the typhoon, KU has picked a westerly route compare to previous year. The wind is blowing south at the west side of Typhoon Trami and north at the east side of it. Choosing a westerly route allowed KU to “ride on” the current and travel fast with average speed of nearly 47km/h. It was flying past the west coast of the Philippines as this update was being written. Will it head to the same stop-over site in Sulawesi as previous year?