30th March 2020
It has been a hugely exciting time for the Pacific Golden Plover/Kuriri Project. First, with our last catching attempt of the season, we caught three more of these elusive birds – nicknamed Kowhai, Ra and Ahi – and fitted them with satellite tags. As a result, we will now have six birds to track when they head north over the next few weeks. Then one of the three birds tagged last season, JoJo, turned up on the Stilt Ponds on 15th March and paraded in front of the crowd at Migration Day. This was highly significant because it is the first time a New Zealand Kuriri has been tracked through its migratory cycle and world expert Wally Johnson says it suggests our birds, and possibly others that visit the South Pacific, follow a different pattern to those studied elsewhere. Jim and Amanda’s tags stopped broadcasting just as they were about to return south, but JoJo’s allowed us to track him flying from Alaska to the island of Teraina in Kiribati, where he stayed about a month, and then to Tongatapu in Tonga, where he took another break. In late November JoJo left Tonga and got to within 1,000km of New Zealand before turning back, probably because of strong headwinds. At that point JoJo’s tag stopped transmitting but we still hoped someone might spot his blue and white leg bands and the distinctive aerial so we would know where he ended up. And now it has happened.
Go to the Where’s Goldie? – Following Pacific Golden Plover page for all the project information.