For the sixth consecutive fall, since her initial capture in Virginia, Hope the whimbrel has returned to her winter territory on St. Croix. Lisa Yntema (local bird expert and environmentalist) and Carol Cramer-Burke (Program Director for St. Croix Environmental Association) sighted and photographed Hope on 2 September within her winter home of Great Pond.
Since her initial capture in Virginia, Hope has become a living representation of the challenges faced by migratory shorebirds throughout their annual cycle. Tracked with a satellite transmitter, she made tremendous nonstop flights, confronted storms while at sea, navigated with precision, and demonstrated the importance of both local efforts and international cooperation to the conservation of migratory species. In 2013, Hope was immortalized in the book “Hope is Here”, written by well-known children’s author Cristina Kessler of St. John (available on Amazon.com).
Hope was initially captured on 19 May 2009 while staging in Boxtree Creek in Virginia and was fitted with a satellite transmitter as part of a study focused on whimbrel migration. She was tracked for more than 50,000 miles (80,000 kilometers) back and forth four times between her breeding site on the Mackenzie River in far western Canada and her wintering site on Great Pond. Her transmitter antenna was lost in early September of 2012 shortly after she arrived on Great Pond, and the transmitter was removed on 20 November. She is easily identified by a unique letter code on her leg flag. Since her initial capture, Hope has traveled approximately 75,000 miles (120,000 kilometers).
Great Pond, Hope’s winter home, is a 50 hectare mangrove wetland located on the southeast coast of St. Croix. The area is designated as an Important Bird Area by Birdlife International. Great Pond and the adjacent East End Marine Park are managed by the US Virgin Islands Division of Fish and Wildlife, Department of Planning and Natural Resources.
Written by Bryan Watts | email@example.com | (757) 221-2247
September 5, 2014