Altynai travels across India (Tuesday, January 13, 2004)
While I was going through piles of photos to compile another summary, Altynai left lake Lakhundar, where she had been staying since second half of November and where we watched her in December and set off southwards. Between Friday January 9th and evening of Sunday January 11th, she flew 400 kilometres to the south. Yesterday, she moved 60 kilometres to the northwest. This morning (Indian time), she was in the east of Maharashtra some 450 kilometres east of Mumbai.
What is going on? The simplest explanation is that food sources around Lakhundar have been depleted and Altynai as a consequence moved further to the south. Storks do not (and cannot) fish in the lake itself and food is scarce in brooks, puddles and muddy patches because of a huge number of fish-catching birds (from kingfishers to herons and storks to painted storks) with which it competes. However, the turn to the northwest is strange, as if she was unable to find a suitable place.
As usual, we end with "what comes next remains to be seen". We will be waiting for new data eagerly here in Prague, so will our colleagues in Mumbai, Novosibirsk, and countless other places. Here we are offering a gallery of photos from Altynai's wintering grounds at Lakhundar.