August 31: The Wildlife Center staff received data from NX’s transmitter today. We are still learning this new system and will be experimenting with different ways to display maps and data on her whereabouts.
We do know that since her release, NX has spent most of her time in a wooded area next to the James River, and she roosted in a tree overnight. She spent a short amount of time on the ground this morning, but otherwise has been perching in trees ranging in height from 10 to 28 meters. At 8:22 a.m. she took a quick flight across a field, clocking in at 60 miles per hour at an altitude of 68 meters. All in all, by examining the data, we think that NX is exploring the area around Berkeley Plantation.
September 2: NX appears to be moving a bit farther afield — and is now off of the Berkeley property. She’s moved into a different forested area close to the water. According to Mike Lanzone, one of the Cellular Tracking Technologies experts, that exact spot is one used by other Bald Eagles that also have units on.
Two views of where NX has been:
September 6: As of today, NX has been on her own for one week. She remains close to Berkeley Plantation, and each morning wakes up a little further from her release location. For the last five nights she has roosted next to a small tributary of the James River that cuts up behind Berkeley and Westover; this is prime eagle habitat.
Looking at her “tracks” on Google Earth, we can see NX’s travel path tends to stick to tree lines, which provide her good cover and lots of roosting and perching places; the shallow waters of the upper tributary where she has been for the last few days are good fishing grounds. Position, speed, and altitude data is recorded by the backpack at 15-minute intervals, so interpretations of other behaviors (for example, hunting) would only be conjecture at this point; however, we are seeing her in the air quite a bit flying from place to place. It will be interesting to see where she moves to next now that she has reached the narrowest end of the tributary.
Two views of where NX has been:
(A note about NX Tracks data — we are not able to alter the .kml file which comes from the transmitter and can be viewed using Google Earth, so we can’t remove the track of NX’s car ride to Berkeley Plantation, which is the straight line in the lower left of the image.)
September 8: NX seems to have found a place she likes! She’s still hanging out in the same area she was two days ago, as it appears that she has found a favorite perch at the end of the tributary. She made a few trips to explore the wooded areas nearby, and she is getting out and spreading her wings a little more each day.
September 10: After some mid-week rainy weather cleared, NX opted to leave the Berkeley Plantation area — and is now in King and Queen County! On Friday, September 9, she woke up at the same general area near the Berkeley Plantation — and then left town at about 9:30 a.m. She flew 35 miles to a forested area in King and Queen, and arrived around 1:30 p.m. Today she seems to be flying around the same general area.
September 12: Since Saturday, NX has flown an additional 30 miles to Kilmarnock in Northumberland County. She is currently about 2.5 miles from Chesapeake Bay.
September 14: NX is still in Northumberland County. Since Monday, she has flown about 13 miles to the northern part of the county, just west of the town of Ophelia. On the map below, you’ll see where she has flown since her last “check in” point [from Monday -- labeled as "last known position"].
The last data point transmitted today revealed that she was flying at 16 miles per hour at an altitude of 262 feet. According to the map, she appears to be flying over a field. She spent the night in the woods.
September 22: NX has settled in on the banks of the Little Wicomico River in Northumberland County. The stand of trees she is favoring borders fields rather than heavy human-occupied territory, and she has a small inlet nearby in which to fish.
We think it is time to take a look at where her journey has taken her over the last 23 days. She is currently 62 miles from her release location in Charles City, Virginia. In her travels she has visited seven counties, crossed one major river and numerous smaller rivers and streams, been known to frequent areas other tracked eagles have been to, and may have crossed paths with her sister Azalea.
As you can see in the picture above she is very close to Accomack County — where our most recent bald eagle patient was rescued!
September 19: NX missed her check-in on September 16 (this happens if she is in an area with spotty cell phone coverage at check-in time), but her transmitter did manage to “phone home” September 17 to deliver 4 days of data.
In our last update NX was hanging out east of Lancaster in Northumberland County, Virginia. She has changed direction again and headed north to the shores of the Little Wicomico River, just east of Burgess. The river empties onto the Chespeake Bay and has a beautiful marina on it.
September 26: NX is still enjoying the same stand of trees on the Little Wicomico River in Northumberland County, Virginia. She has crossed the river a few times to visit nearby piers, but otherwise is quite content to remain where she has been for the past week.
October 1: NX was able to check in today. Since we heard from her last, she has ventured further inland on the Little Wicomico River to a place called Hansons Cove. It is a heavily wooded area, and her tracks show her flying back and forth to trees on either side of the cove. Her last known position shows that she has returned to a preferred tree in a more populated zone of the river.
October 6: After five days without a check-in, NX came back into cell range and today her backpack was able to transmit the details of where she has been. On October 2, at around 11:15am, NX left Hanson’s Cove on the Little Wicomico River in Northumberland, Virginia, and flew roughly 2 miles further north to Vir-Mar Beach, in Virginia’s Northern Neck region. She spent two nights there and during the days explored most of the length of the river before returning to her current home base on the Little Wicomico on October 4.
October 11: NX checked in today and revealed that she’s been spending the past few days hanging around her favorite spot on the Little Wicomico River. While she tends to stick around the same general area, we are able to see that she’s making regular short flight around the river and marina.
You can see from the map below how much she’s been flying around and near her favorite spot. This map is not an accumulation of what she’s been doing since the last check-in, but rather, is a larger overview of some of her travels in the past few weeks. The heaviest and most dense purple lines are right around her current hang out.
October 27 12:37 p.m.: After 16 days of not checking in … NX checked in! It turns out that over the past two weeks, NX has been in the same general area of the Little Wicomico River. She did venture off on another trip from Hanson’s Cove to Vir-Mar Beach. This trip is very similar to the one she took at the beginning of October, when she was out of cell range for five days [see October 6 posting below]. After looking at the data on where NX was yesterday, we can conclude that she was not the juvenile eagle that the DGIF biologist flushed from the woods near NX’s ”usual” spot.
October 27: NX’s last “check-in” was on October 11; her last reported location was on the Little Wicomico River, near Ophelia. Wildlife Center staff consulted with the VDGIF biologists who fitted NX with the transmitter to inquire about other Bald Eagles in Virginia with transmitters — they confirmed that the other eagles that have been outfitted with these “cell-phone” transmitters routinely go in and out of cell coverage areas — sometimes for weeks at a time.
Since one DGIF biologist is near Ophelia, she offered to go out to the last known coordinates of NX just to check out the area.
On October 26, she visited NX’s favorite hang-out. Apparently the pine tree was fairly “white-washed”; the biologist also found a pile of fish bones (old and new) underneath it and a feather from a juvenile Bald Eagle — signs that someone had definitely been hanging out in the area! When she first arrived, the biologist also flushed a juvenile eagle from a nearby tree, but she was unable to tell if the bird was wearing a transmitter.
The Wildlife Center staff will continue to check NX’s transmitter data daily and will report when we next hear something. In the meantime, nothing to do but to wait for NX to “phone home”.
November 1: NX has been on the move! After returning to her roosting tree on the Little Wicomico and checking in on October 27, she packed her bags and set off for the beach. She has been flying along a stretch of the Virginia coast between Gaskin Pond and Taskmaker Creek, to the east of Reedville, Virginia. She appears to have made some brief explorations of an inland wooded area, but has spent most of her time exploring around an unnamed (at least on Google maps) pond near the Olin-Fox Farms CSA in Reedville.
November 3: NX continues to explore the creeks, beaches, and ponds around Reedville, Virginia. Since checking in on November 1 [marked as "last known location" on the map below], she ventured just south of Reedville to Cockrell Creek.
A zoomed out view to offer some perspective: the tracks around the Burgess area were where NX was in late October; she is now to the southeast of her “favorite spot”.
November 8: In the five days since her last check-in, NX has narrowed her range somewhat — it appears that since her adventures in Reedville she has stuck to the coastal area around Owens Pond and Gaskin Pond.
November 10: NX is on the move! After her adventures in Reedville, NX moved inland again on November 10. She traveled about 13 miles to the northwest, by Downings Millpond just east of Heathsville. This location is about 7.5 miles west of her “usual hangout” on the Little Wicomico.
November 21: After a brief journey inland, NX has returned to the beach near Gaskin Pond. On the morning of November 11 she left the woods by Downings Millpond and pond-hopped her way back to the coast, where she has been hanging out ever since. One thing remains the same, in that NX seems to prefer areas with spotty cell coverage!
November 28: NX has returned inland once again, and woke up on Thanksgiving morning in Hansons Cove on the Little Wicomico River. Later that day, perhaps after a nice fish breakfast, she ventured back to the area near Downings Millpond east of Heathsville that she has been visiting off and on since the beginning of the month. NX appears to be in the process of exploring and defining her home range. The home range of a breeding adult Bald Eagle would be fairly small at just under 2,000 acres, but juvenile eagles who are not tied to a nesting site range over much larger areas — sometimes millions of acres (more info).
NX was found injured in Ophelia on December 1. She was rescued by an animal control officer and taken to a permitted rehabiltator. On December 2, NX was transported to the Center. Read the full story here.
NX was released on May 16 at the Rappahannock River Valley National Wildlife Refuge — about 32 miles west of where she was rescued in Northumberland County in December 2011. NX’s transmitter battery was fully charged when placed on her again in late April 2012, though the Wildlife Center staff believe that some charge was lost while she was perching in the Center’s shaded flight pens. While NX’s reports can come in as often as every 48 hours, the transmitter may need additional time to charge up again in the field.
May 18: Two days on her own, and NX already checked in!
According to the map, NX is still at the wildlife refuge where she was released on May 16. She is within a mile of the release site, but has been exploring the forest and estuary over the past two days. It appears as though we are missing a little data from the afternoon of May 16 to the afternoon of May 17 — this is likely before her battery was fully charged by the sun.
An overview of the area [lines to the east of the refuge are NX's travel paths from 2011]:
Zoomed-in view of the wildlife refuge — note release site is marked.
May 21 update: NX checked in twice since the last update — on May 19 and again on May 21. On May 19, NX headed west from the release location to the banks of the Rapphannock River. Today’s check-in shows that she is still by the river, and has just spent more time exploring. She is just north of Mulberry Island.
May 23 update: It looks as though NX spent the last two days on the same beach near her May 21 check-in point — she’s just traveled further south. She is just a little more than a mile from her release site, but as you can see by the May 23 overview, she’s certainly been exploring the area!
May 25 update: NX is still in the same area — the Rappahannock River Valley National Wildlife Refuge, on the banks of the Rappahannock River. Judging from the maps, she’s clearly been flying around a lot in the past two days!
This next map shows NX’s travels throughout the past two days — the “last known position” shows where she was on May 23.
May 27 update: NX continues to hug the coastline of the Rappahannock River as she explores her new home. On her May 27 check-in, she continues to move north again.
May 30 update: NX must’ve discovered a spotty cell-coverage area, as she did not check in on May 29 — but today she was within range again. NX is still within a mile or so of the release site at Rappahannock River Valley National Wildlife Refuge, though has now moved to the north. As of this morning, she was hanging out on Burnett Creek, and is just to the south of a small summit named Bald Eagle Hill.
June 1 update: NX checked-in today — still hanging around the Rapphannock! She’s moved awak from the creek and went back to the beach — and is just north of Mulberry Island.
June 3 update: Different day, same area — NX continues to explore the banks of the Rappahannock.
June 5 update: Still on the banks of the Rapphannock River!
The big question is — where will she been when there is an open-to-the-public eagle release on June 7 (her next check-in day)?
June 7 update: Many NX followers were eager to hear where NX was during the June 7 Bald Eagle release at Rappahannock River Valley National Wildlife Refuge. It turns out that NX was still near the beach — about 3/4 of a mile from the release site.
June 11 update: NX checked-in on June 9 and on June 11 — still hanging out around the same area! It looks like NX took a short trip over the Rappahannock River on June 8 — and after she got halfway across, turned around and came back.
June 13 update: NX ventured off on another short trip over half of the Rappahannock in the past two days. This part of the river is just a little more than a mile wide.
June 14 update: Although NX check-ins should occur every 48 hours, for some reason, we received another check-in on June 14! Same spot, different day — NX continues to explore the banks of the Rappahannock.
June 18 update: NX checked in twice over the past few days — on June 16 and June 18. She’s still hanging around her favorite spot on the banks of the Rapphannock — but judging by the “tracks”, she gets around during the day!
June 20 update: Same area!
June 22 update: NX continues to explore the eastern bank of the Rappahannock River.
June 25 update: NX checked in on June 24 — same area, though it appears as though NX took some time to explore Wilna Creek over the past two days.
June 26 update: NX checked in on June 25 — and has moved about 1/2 mile to the south!
June 29 update: NX checked in on June 28 — she’s been flying around in the same area.
Travels from June 27 to June 28
In all seriousness, we do know that many cell towers were down or experiencing difficulties throughout the weekend in Virginia — so there are some “bad” data points in NX’s tracking. In looking at the reasonable data points, it appears as though NX spent the evening of June 29 a little bit inland (marked by the red star below). On today’s check-in, she had resumed her river-side wandering.
July 6 update: NX checked in on July 5 — in her “usual spot”!
July 9 update: NX checked in on July 8; she’s continuing to stay in ”her” area on the Rappahannock River.
July 10 update: NX checked in today — still flying around the same area. At her precise moment of check-in, she was flying over the Rappahannock River. From the data, we are able to tell that NX was flying at about 219 feet at that moment.
July 13 update: NX has left the county! Between NX’s July 10 and July 12 check-in, NX flew west over the Rappahannock River into Essex County. At her July 12 check-in, she was hanging out near a body of water just 1/3 mile north of Sluice Creek. According to HookandBullet.com, Sluice Creek is a nice fishing spot — and has a variety of fish in the creek including largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and bluegill.
July 17 update: NX checked in on July 14; she is continuing to explore more parts of Essex County.
July 18 update: NX checked in today — it looks like the GPS transmitter is missing a little bit of data, which makes sense as it’s been four days since NX’s last check-in. We can tell that she’s exploring more of the salt marsh area in Essex County.
July 20 update: NX checked in today — it looks like she’s back in her favorite spot, on the east bank of the Rappahannock River! According to the data, NX flew across the river on the morning of Thursday, July 19 and briefly explored Mulberry Island. After spending a little time there, she flew north back to her favorite area.
July 23 update: After her “across the river adventure”, it looks like NX has been sticking to her favorite spot over the past three days.
July 25 update: NX continues to explore the east bank of the Rappahannock River — at today’s check in, she was just north of Wilna Creek.
July 27 update: Same area!
July 30 update: NX checked in on Sunday, July 29 — she’s been exploring her “usual” area.
August 1 update: NX checked in today — she’s in the same area, though has moved to the north. NX is just north of Jones Landing, to the west of Bald Eagle Hill. This area is actually the northermost spot she’s visited so far!
August 4 update: NX checked in on August 4 — still just west of Bald Eagle Hill. It appears as though she’s done a fair amount of exploring in this area throughout the past three days!
August 6 update: NX checked in today; she’s still hanging out in the Bald Eagle Hill area. This is about 1.58 miles north of where she was released.
August 8 update: Still exploring!
August 11 update: NX checked in on August 11 and is still exploring the same area near the Rappahannock River.
August 15 update: NX checked in on August 14 … same area!
August 16 update: Today marks the three-month anniversary of NX’s release at the Rappahannock River Valley National Wildlife Refuge on May 16. In those three months, NX has covered an area of about 20 square miles, directly around the Rappahannock River.
August 18 update: NX checked in on August 18 just north of Mulberry Island — this is about a mile south of the area where NX has been hanging out for the past couple of weeks.
August 21 update: NX checked in today — it looks like she’s been exploring Mulberry Island over the past few days. She was at a few different spots along Waterview Creek, before she flew a mile north again to her “usual” field and forested area.
August 23 update: NX is on the move! Since her check-in two days ago, NX has flown across the Rappahannock River into Essex County. She’s flown about 9.11 miles in the past two days and is hanging out on the riverbank.
August 25 update: NX checked in on August 25 — she’s in the same area as her August 23 check-in. It appears as though she’s flown across the river — and back! This area is about 5.6 miles away from her May 2012 release location.
August 29 update: NX missed her August 27 check-in — and we can see why! From her data, apparently she took a quick trip to the Artic on August 26 and was near Ellef Ringes Island in Nunavut, Canada.
In all seriousness — it appears as though NX just had a few wayward data points, most likely due to storms and cell tower issues. For the past four days, she has been flying back and forth across the Rappahannock River between Essex and Westmoreland Counties.
August 31 update: NX checked in today — she’s flying around the same area in which she’s been during the past week. Exploring the banks of the Rappahannock!
September 5 update: NX checked in on September 4. She is still exploring the Rappahannock River in Westmoreland and Essex Counties.
September 7 update: NX checked in today — it appears as though she’s still hanging out on the Rappahannock River, in the same area where she’s been for the past couple of weeks. At her point of check-in today she was actually on the “other” side of the river, in Westmoreland County.
September 10 update: NX checked in on Sunday, September 9 — she’s moved further north! Between September 7 and September 9, NX flew about 15 miles to the north in Westmoreland County — toward Colonial Beach.
September 11 update: NX is still just outside of Colonial Beach. Over the past two days, she’s been exploring the western side of Westmoreland County and briefly crossed into King George County near Rosier Creek. According to HookandBullet.com, Rosier Creek is a good fishing spot, full of a variety of fish including largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, and bluegill.
September 14 update: NX checked in on September 13 — and is still to the west of Colonial Beach. NX has been flying over Rosier Creek, and according to Google Earth, even flew over a place called Shady Lane Seafood Carry-Out!
September 17 update: NX checked in today and on September 15 — and has remained in the Rosier Creek area.
September 19 update: NX is still hanging out on Rosier Creek. In one of her recent flights over the past two days, she came within .17 miles of the Potomac River — which is technically the Maryland border.
September 21 update: Still flying back and forth across Rosier Creek! When NX checked-in on September 21, she was on the King George County side of the water.
September 23 update: The cuisine must be good — NX is still at Rosier Creek!
September 25 update: NX is still exploring the length (and width) of Rosier Creek. The Virginia-Maryland border is just off the coast (seen in the image below as a purple line), and NX has come very close — but hasn’t crossed it yet! On one of her flights, she was 0.04 miles from Maryland.
September 28 update: NX is still at Rosier Creek! This area is 18.8 miles from her May release spot.
Someone on Rosier Creek had a fly-by overhead!
September 30 update: NX is still enjoying Rosier Creek.
October 2 update: The fishing must be good at Rosier Creek!
October 5 update: Over the past three days, NX has continued to explore the length and width of Rosier Creek. Since the Maryland border is technically in the Potomac River -- NX has ventured as close as 0.05 miles from the state line.
October 7 update: NX continues to hang out on Rosier Creek.
October 9 update: Over the past two days, Bald Eagle NX has been exploring the coastline of the Potomac River -- getting very close to Maryland at one point, but not crossing the border!
At her check-in point today, NX was hanging out in some trees near a dock on Rosier Creek.
October 12 update: NX has been exploring Rosier Creek again over the past three days. Since she was a day late in calling in, and we're missing a few data points on the map, it seems as though she's discovered a spotty cell area somewhere along the creek.
October 14 update: Bald Eagle NX spent a lot of time flying over Rosier Creek between October 12 -- 14; in one of her passes, she flew directly over Wilkerson's Seafood Restaurant.
October 16 update: Today marks the five-month anniversary of NX's May 2012 release! So, what is NX doing today, after 154 days of freedom? Hanging out on the northern side of Rosier Creek, her new favorite hangout.
This area is about 19 miles north of the May 2012 release location. In the past five months, NX has shown a preference for hanging out near the water -- at first, the Rappahannock River, and more recently, Rosier Creek, which is right beside the Potomac River. NX has traveled through four counties in the past five months: Richmond, Essex, Westmoreland, and King George.
October 20 update: NX checked in on October 20 -- still hanging out at Rosier Creek!
October 22 update: NX checked in today -- she is currently about 1.7 miles north of Rosier Creek, in the Black Marsh. This area is about 1.2 miles east of another inlet of water, the Upper Machodoc Creek.
October 25 update: Over the past three days, NX has been exploring Black Marsh and Baber Point. And, for the first time, she ventured into Maryland! While she only flew 0.90 miles over the state line as she flew out over the Potomac, it's still a "first" for her.
October 27 update: NX checked in on October 27 -- and was still in the Black Marsh and Baber Point area. She did not check in (yet) on October 29 -- we will check in on NX's transmitter regularly throughout Hurricane Sandy, though expect that we may not hear from NX from a couple of days. We do know that there are some spotty cell areas in King George County, and NX may be moving inland as the rain and high winds take effect.
November 1: Bald Eagle NX missed her scheduled check-in on October 29 due to Hurricane Sandy -- but checked in three days later. So, where did she go during the storm?
NX flew 2.5 miles south from Baber Point on the evening of October 28. On October 29 and 30 -- when Virginia was hit with high winds and rain as a result of the hurricane -- NX was in a wooded area just north of Rosier Creek. On October 31, she returned to some of her regular hang-out spots on Rosier Creek. It appears as though NX weathered the storm just fine!
November 5: NX checked in on November 5. It appears as though cell coverage is still spotty and a few data points are missing from the past few days, but by plugging in a few points, it looks like NX moved north from Rosier Creek area on November 3. After a day at Baber Point, NX flew over the Upper Machodoc Creek on November 4 and was hanging out on Deep Creek the following day.
November 13: NX has remained in the same general location of her last check-in on November 5. On November 11, she checked in at coordinates just north of Wood Island, not far from the Naval Support Facility in Dahlgreen, VA. She remains close to the Virginia/Maryland border, but hasn’t crossed over since her October 25 check-in.
November 15: It's NX's almost-anniversary -- tomorrow [November 16] marks six months since her release at the Rappahannock River Valley National Wildlife Refuge. Today NX checked in -- it appears as though she's been flying around the Upper Machodoc Creek, to the west of Wood Island.
NX is about 23 miles northwest of her May 2012 release location; here is a look at her travels since May 16:
November 18: NX checked in on November 18 -- she's still flying around the Upper Machodoc Creek [as she was on her November 15 check-in].
November 25: NX checked in twice over the Thanksgiving weekend -- on November 23 and 25. On the 23rd, she was still hanging around the Upper Machodoc Creek. After that check-in, she moved east and flew directly over Wood Island before heading south to the Black Marsh area again. NX is about 1.6 miles north of the Rosier Creek, the area where she spent time mid-September to mid-October.
November 27: Bald Eagle NX seems to be back in an area with better cell reception -- she "checked in" right on schedule today. Over the past two days, NX has flown south, and crossed over Rosier Creek before heading west. Today's check-in point is just west of Maple Grove, Virginia and is in King George County.
November 29: NX is still flying around a wooded area just to the west of Rosier Creek.
December 1: It looks as though NX has flown north again -- over the past two days, she flew about 6.5 miles, back to the Upper Machodoc Creek.
December 6: NX checked in after missing a couple of check-in days -- likely the area to the west of Wood Island has a few areas of spotty cell reception!
December 14: NX checked in after a week and a day of no communication -- she's been exploring the Machodoc Creek, and must be at a particular area with spotty cell coverage.
December 16: NX checked in for her seven-month anniversary! Over the past two days, NX has been exploring the length of the Machodoc Creek.
Over the past seven months, NX has remained within 22 miles of her May release site. She's visited four counties, and often can be found near the water.