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The storks' journey to the wintering grounds 2004
Miroslav Bobek

At the end of summer and beginning of autumn 2004 three black storks which are carrying satellite and VHF transmitters left their Asian nests. These storks are called Altynai, Chingiz and Tuya and are the "new heroes" of the New Odyssey project.

We equipped the female Altynai with a transmitter in summer 2003 near the Ob River in Russia which means that we have been monitoring her wintering for the second consecutive year. As well as in the year 2003, in autumn 2004 Altynai reached the same region - western Madhya Pradesh in India. She reached her destination in a different route this time. There was a big difference in comparison with her journey the previous year. It varied by few hundred kilometres and was caused by Altynai's stop-over in southern Kazakhstan in September and October 2004. She reached much further to the west. Also the time spent on both these journeys to the wintering grounds which Altynai covered with her "backpack" was different - or better to say shifted. In the year 2004 her autumn migration lasted from 26th August to 29th or 30th October; she began her journey nine days and ended it by ten days earlier than in the year 2003.

Chingiz and Tuya on the other hand are "newcomers" in comparison with Altynai to the New Odyssey. We equipped them in central Mongolia in summer 2004.

Both these storks left their nests relatively late - Chingiz on the 26th September (he managed to cover a distance of 475 kilometres during his first flying day), Tuya left as late as 8th or 9th October. Chingiz took six days before reaching Mataigou on the Yellow River, where he stayed for three weeks. Tuya took almost the same route and the journey to the Yellow River took her five or six days and she stayed there for three weeks as well. For some time the storks were staying only fifteen kilometres apart from each other.

Chingiz continued his journey on the 23rd or 24th October and reached his wintering ground in northern Myanmar (Burma) on 31st October. Tuya left her stop-over site on the Yellow River (Huang He) on 4th November but stopped again only after a week of flying - this time in the mountains near the city of Daochungu. She started flying again on 17th November and on the 24th or 25th November reached her wintering ground on the border of Myanmar and southern tip of the Indian state Mizoram.

Whereas Altynai had to cover 4800 km on her journey to the wintering ground Chingiz had to cover "only" 2900 and Tuya 3400 kilometres.

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