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Spring Return of Mongolian Storks
Lubomír Peške5th March 2006

Three Mongolian storks (Tuya, Kublai and Erdenet) stayed for the whole period of their wintering at their area-wise relatively small wintering grounds in valleys of small mountain rivers. Only Marco wintered in a completely different biotope - large meanders and side river channels of the Brahmaputra River in places where the river leaves the Himalayan canyons. He was the only one who shifted about a month ago to a second wintering ground.

Erdenet was the first to depart for his spring journey. His transmitter went on a strike during December and January in such a way that the absence of his signal brought worries about his fate. But technology in his backpack recovered and from 23.2. with the arrival of intensive transmitting cycles which was programmed to cover the return journey we are again able to retrieve very good information about his whereabouts. By then Erdenet had already covered first few hundred kilometres of his return journey. We do not exactly know when he set off for his return journey - probably sometime in mid February because on 20.2 he was 450 km to the east from his wintering ground. In the next few days he followed the border of Bhutan and south mountainside of the Himalayas and during Saturday night 4.3. he was further 500 km to the east at the end of a wide lowland of the Brahmaputra below the Tibetan mountains. Approximately in these areas Marco wintered, but on 5. or 6.2. he moved further 100 km to the east - it wasn't a case of a return journey but he only shifted places because he has been staying at the new place for a month. It is interesting to note that Marco is at the same place where Kublai was at the end of October. As if there were only few places where the birds can suitably feed themselves... Both birds are now in front of the most difficult part of their migration, they have to travel under high peaks in south-western China. Kublai and Tuya are staying at their wintering grounds. The first one in a little Indian state Meghalaya at the foot of the Khasi Hills and the second on the border of India and Myanmar, in the same place as last year.

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