09’s epic journey through Spain

Since our last post, 09 has flown an incredible distance of 600 miles in just 21 hours. After leaving his roosting site shortly before 9am on Wednesday morning he headed NNE and left the shores of North Africa at 3pm. He crossed the Strait of Gibralter at a point where it was only 11 miles wide, possibly playing it safe after his recent ocean adventure. As predicted, he arrived in Southern Spain on Wednesday afternoon, eight miles east of Tarifa, just before 4pm.

09 crossing the Strait of Gibralter

View from Tarifa looking across the Strait of Gibralter

This Southern most point in Europe is a fantastic place to watch migrating birds at this time of year and millions can be seen crossing the short stretch of water as they head north towards their breeding grounds. 09 began his long journey through Europe, passing over the village of Palmones on the Bay of Gibralter. John Wright visited Palmones several years ago and many Ospreys could be seen fishing just off the beach and promenade.

On this occasion, 09 decided not to stop and carried on flying north at an altitude of 1400 feet and a steady speed of 30mph. 09 has flown over 75,000 miles in his lifetime but even an experienced adult can still be at risk when migrating. Once again he has survived the journey through Africa, but we can’t forget his near miss at the hands of some strong easterly winds in Western Africa. Although he’s now made it to Europe, he is certainly not out of harm’s way…

After flying 70 miles north of Palmones, 09 decided to stop close to a small lake near La Puebla de Cazalla. This must mean that he had caught a fish and was having a well deserved rest. It’s not surprising after a 350 mile flight!

Having a rest near La Puebla de Cazalla

It would be sensible to think that this was where 09 had decided to roost that evening but we got a shock when we saw this…

Overnight flight

Not only had 09 decided not to roost where he’d stopped at 7pm, but at 6am the next morning he was 225 miles away! This means that he must have carried on migrating through the night. That evening the moon phase was a ‘Waning Crescent’ which means that it was providing only 1% illumination. 09 flew for 225 miles, over the Sierra Morena Mountain range, in virtually complete darkness! How on earth did he navigate? He is obviously in a rush to get back to Rutland. For the next four hours, 09 only flew very short distances but by 10am yesterday morning he was ready to get going again. He headed straight for an altitude of 3700 feet and by 4pm yesterday, with an average speed of 25 mph, he had flown a further 215 miles and was now only 130 miles away from France!

Nearly in France

4 responses to “09’s epic journey through Spain”

  1. Peter Joyce

    I’m in the Marais Breton Vendéen in western France, I’ll keep an eye out for him over the weekend! We saw several osprey here last autumn with one over wintering 3kms from me at Matte a Rambeau, but I’ve yet to see one this spring. I’m looking forward to visiting Rutland again in May.

  2. Pauline Jacobs

    It’s just so fascinating tracking 09 like this. Will hopefully get to see him for real later in the summer!

  3. Lin

    Am totally in awe of 09 and his progress – what a wonderful specimen of an osprey he is! Am lucky enough to live very close to Rutland Water and the anticipation of his imminent arrival here is soooo exciting. Big thanks to all the team for the reports thus far. Bring on the webcam

  4. Cilla

    Since Michelle came and gave her talk to Lincs Wildlife group at Sleaford on 19th March I have been following 09’s progress and am amazed at his stamina I feel very privileged that I am able to follow his epic journey. Hope to visit Rutland Water later in the year.