Finally! The long anticipated migration of the bar-tailed godwits from Barr Al Hikman has commenced! After a week of favourable southern winds it just had to happen, and so it did. Just before sunset on 13 April the birds that we named Shannah and Filim took off in a northward direction. Straight over the desert of the Wahiba Sands and mountain range of Jabal Akkhar, and then over Muscat.
It flew over Muscat at the very moment that we were watching Barcelona against Athletico Madrid, outside, and we didn’t noticed any migration. Incredible to realize that they were flying over at that moment, probably too high to notice them, but they might have noticed the light of Muscat.
The data suggest that they only landed in Kazakhstan at the shores of the Caspian Sea, about 2500 km north of Barr Al Hikman. This might be a nice stop-over site when migrating to Siberia, so these birds might stay there for a while. The next evening two other birds took off (Hilf & Khaluf), so there are only 5 tagged birds left in Barr Al Hikman since Ma’awil is on the border of Pakistan and Indian where it crosses the border almost every day.
The team went to the mudflats on Friday 15 April, and noticed that there are not many bar-tailed godwits left in the area, and those that still remained appeared rather fat, thus they are ready to go. So probably we can expect more movements in the coming days… We suggest you check out the website every day.