Further to my recent message about the Godwit from Alaska
currently at Tuross, this report might help answer some of the questions
which Brendan was hinting at - like which way do they go - around the top of the
Pacific or directly across it?
From the Alaska Science Centre (part of the USGS - i.e., their
"Geological Survey" Department)
"We used satellite telemetry to follow the migrations of two
populations of Bar-tailed Godwits, a group of 9 from New Zealand (NZ) and a
group of 15 from Western Australia (WA). The birds from WA represent a
subspecies that nests in eastern Siberia whereas the New
Zealand birds nest in Alaska."
There is a special report on one particular
individual which took the "short cut" non-stop directly across the Pacific from
Alaska to New Zealand.
- "On the early morning of August 29, she took off southeast
back across the Alaska Peninsula, went out over the vast North Pacific and
headed towards the Hawaiian Islands. When less than a day's flight from the
main Hawaiian Islands, she turned southwest, crossing the Hawaiian Archipelago
over open ocean 125 miles west of Kauai, heading towards Fiji. She crossed the
dateline about 300 miles north-northeast of Fiji, and then appeared to fly
directly over or slightly west of Fiji, continuing south towards New Zealand.
- "In the early afternoon of September 7th she passed just
offshore of North Cape, New Zealand, and then turned back southeast, making
landfall in the late evening at the mouth of a small river, eight miles east
of where she had been captured seven months earlier."
There is clear evidence that some Godwits fly the Pacific
- seemingly without even landing once.
Very small numbers in the survey, of course.
But if one can do it, and knows the way, then that's pretty
impressive evidence as far as I am concerned.