9/4/2018

Phynodderee is still alive

Map

By Chris Heward, Wetlands Research Assistant

Last week, we reported that Phynodderee had made a surprise return with a few inaccurate but nevertheless welcome transmissions. Prior to this, we had not heard from her since autumn. In October, she was heading west with her last known transmission coming from the Swedish island of Gotland.

We’d hoped to follow her back to her wintering site, expecting her to pass through Sweden and Denmark into Germany, and then eventually into the British Isles. We were particularly interested to see where she spent the winter because she was caught and tagged on the Isle of Man – would she return to stay here or simply use it as a stepping stone on her way to Ireland?

Sadly we never found out because Phynodderee’s tag stopped transmitting. We begun to suspect that she had probably died somewhere along her migration route – hence the lack of new information. But last week’s unexpected update showed that she was somewhere in or close to Denmark and confirmed she was definitely alive!

Since then we’ve had a few more accurate transmissions. The first of these, sent on 3 April confirmed she was at a site in Germany close to the Danish border. She only remained here for a few days and by the 6th she was in Lithuania’s Curonian Spit National Park, right on the country’s Baltic coast.

Last spring/summer, Phynodderee spent the breeding season in North-west Russia. Assuming she is heading back to this same location, she still has another 1,500 km to travel. Hopefully her tag will remain charged and share the rest of her spring migration with us.

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