HE was gone for three years — but not forgotten. South Australians feared their favourite feathered friend had perished after he dropped off the radar until this photo emerged.
The AdvertiserJUNE 19, 201810:27PM
HE’S back! Go-Go Godwit, South Australia’s premier frequent flyer, has been sighted in China after fans feared he may have flown into the sunset.
The male Bar-tailed godwit regularly spends summer at Thompson Beach, north of Adelaide, where he was tagged by volunteers in 2012 and leaves in autumn on an incredible journey north to breeding grounds in the Arctic Circle.
The annual migratory journey these birds take from Adelaide to the Arctic via China involves a round trip of around 26,000km.
Given that godwits can live for up to 30 years, a bird could fly up to 800,000km in migratory journeys during its life, about the same as a return trip to the moon.
Go-Go, more formally known as AKK due to the identification tag on his leg, was last seen in China in 2015 when The Advertiser reported his progress.
Since then he fell off the radar, leading to fears he had died or been killed.
However. after three years missing in action the plucky traveller has been spotted at Nanpu on Bohai Bay in China where wildlife photographer Adrian Boyle took a mobile phone photo through a telescope to confirm his unique yellow tag.
The reappearance of the long-distance local has overjoyed local shorebird watchers who are well aware of the toll exhaustion, hunting and habitat loss takes on the thousands of birds who leave each year from Gulf St Vincent beaches on their epic flight.
Adrian Boyle, originally from Millicent, has been a regular visitor to Bohai Bay to count and scan the mudflats for flagged birds. He is part of the Global Flyway Network, a partnership between researchers worldwide devoted to the long term study of long distance migrating shorebirds.