Image-of-the-Week: Rider on the Storm

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Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus). Credit: Mdf  at Wikimedia Commons.Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus). Credit: Mdf at Wikimedia Commons.

A whimbrel named Chinquapin left his breeding grounds on Southampton Island in the Canadian Arctic on 22 August, passed over New England and was far out to sea when he found himself up against Hurricane Irene‘s strongest Category 3 winds last Wednesday. Shortly thereafter his satellite transmitter went dead and the researchers following his migration feared the worst. Whimbrels are capable of flying 3,500mi/5,633kms without stopping—but not in 130mph/209kph winds. As usual, in August, Chinquapin was en route to his wintering grounds on beaches near the mouth of the Amazon River in Brazil to feed on small invertebrates captured in the sand with the help of his own specialized bill—the angle of which exactly matches the burrow curve of a fiddler crab (Uca spp.). Long-lived (≥19 yrs) whimbrels encounter many dangers in the course of their travels. Yet apparently crossing Irene only slowed Chinquapin in his tracks. On Friday last week his satellite began to transmit again—from Eleuthera Island in the Bahamas. Sweet spot to probe the sand.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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