Over the Christmas break Nastasia’s tag has sent a single data point from South-west Wales.
The last time we heard from Nastasia was on the 24th October when she was in Latvia, making a start on her 3,000 km migration. She was at her current location in Pembrokeshire by the 22nd December. The two months between these two data points are completely unknown to us since her tag has not been in contact over this period.
Nastasia was tagged in County Cork, Ireland in March 2014. In both 2014 and 2015 she migrated to a breeding site in Western Russia, returning to her tagging site in County Cork in the intervening winter.
In both years, her outward spring migrations between Ireland and Russia took her around 4-5 weeks to complete and were characterised by flights of 500-600 km broken up by short rest periods.
We expect Nastasia to be returning via a similar route, but it appears that she is drawing out her autumn migration. Whilst spring migration is driven by a pressing instinct to begin breeding, autumn migration is probably dictated by the desire to escape worsening weather conditions. Because the weather has been mild this winter, Nastasia may be finding it relatively easy to find sufficient food and as a result has felt less driven to complete each stage of her migration.
We can only assume that Nastasia’s final destination will be her usual County Cork wintering site. It may be that she will choose to spend the entire winter in her current Welsh location if conditions remain as they are. It will be interesting to observe, if and when she makes the hop over to Ireland, the weather that this final stage of her migration coincides with.
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