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30 is getting closer!

The WOW race hots up!

As we wait expectantly for the next Ospreys to arrive at Rutland Water, it is extraordinary to think that, all over the globe, Ospreys are making similar journeys back to their breeding grounds. The latest update on the Ospreys we’re following as part of World Osprey Week shows how much the birds’ journeys can be affected by the weather.

As we have seen through 30(05)‘s data, her journey so far this year has been severely impaired by the weather, and her progress has been slow. The same is true of her latest day’s travelling. Yesterday she travelled only 129km (80 miles), and, as of yesterday evening, she is still in France, 119km (74 miles) from Calais.

30's route 30th March

30’s route 30th March

She left her roost at 08:00 yesterday morning, flew over Louviers and across the River Seine. She stopped at 14:00 at a location near Senarpont, on the River Bresle, and it was there that she roosted last night. As you can see from the photo below, there are several lagoons in the area, which makes it a very sensible spot for 30 to stay.

30's roost site 30th March

30’s roost site 30th March

The wind has been rather severe over France, with winds predicted to gust at 43mph later today. This is clearly why 30 is still travelling slowly and decided to stop yesterday afternoon. It is comforting to know that she is being sensible – roosting early, flying slowly and avoiding flying through the bad weather fronts. She will get home eventually!

Judging by her latest position, it looks as though 30 is taking a similar route to the one she took last spring. In the map below, you can see (furthest right green line) that 30 crossed the English Channel at almost its narrowest point, between Calais and Dover. It is interesting to see that she is heading the same way this season. The other two lines on the map show her autumn migrations in 2013 (green) and 2014 (purple).

30's route across the channel spring 2014

30’s route across the channel spring 2014

A little further south, another Osprey from the UK is also being affected by the strong winds. The latest data sent by Roy Dennis shows that Blue XD is heading much further east in Spain than usual; almost certainly as a result of the north-westerly winds. By lunchtime today he had reached the River Ebro at Velilla de Ebro.

Much further east, Helena – one of four Finnish birds that we’re following – is now also back in Europe. The previous batch of data had shown that she was in Tunisia on 25th March. We now know that Helena headed out across the Mediterranean at 8:19am on the 26th March, and eventually stopped for the night on the island of Comino having flown 422 km over the sea in just over 8 hours hours. Her average speed over the sea – 51 km per hour – suggested that, unlike 30 and Blue XD, she must have had a good tail wind. Next day she completed the crossing to Italy, avoiding the dangerous skies above Malta where illegal killing of migratory birds of prey is still a terrible problem. Once in Italy she maintained the same north-easterly heading and was just south of Bari on 29th March.

One other piece of important information to report on Helena is that we now know where she spent the winter. Pertti Saurola has now received the full batch of data from her GSM transmitter and it shows that she wintered in Nigeria between Aviara and Uzere, west of the delta of the Niger river, and some 100 km from the coast of the Gulf of Guinea.

On the other side of the Atlantic, the race up the east coast of America is hotting up! Iain MacLeod takes up the story…

Donovan is making steady progress, but is not in too much of a hurry – just as well . . . more snow in NH today!! March 28 was a poor upload day and we are missing a bunch of points in the morning, but he obviously set off fairly early as by 1pm he was 100km to the north-east of his March 27th roost site. By 8pm he was another 50km north near High Falls in Moore County, North Carolina. He spent all of the 29th in that area fishing on little ponds and roosted in the same spot. He left shortly after noon on the 30th and was on his way again and by 5pm was perched next to small pond 130 km north near Williamsboro in Vance County, just about 15 km from the border with Virginia.

Belle is hot on the heels of Donovan as they fly up the east coast of America

Belle is hot on the heels of Donovan as they fly up the east coast of America

Belle, another of the American Ospreys we’re following isn’t far behind. Despite wintering much 900 miles further south (in Brazil rather than Venezuela), she is catching Donovan up; the latest data shows that on Sunday she was flying north through South Carolina, just 200 miles behind. In contrast, the third American WOW Osprey, North Fork Bob, appears in much less of a hurry to get back. The latest data shows that he has only just left his wintering site in Venezuela.

With the race back to the breeding grounds in both America and Europe hotting-up, make sure you check out our interactive World Osprey Week map. 

 

28 was in Manton Bay on 29th and 30th March

Blowing in the wind

Today has been fairly quiet on the Osprey front, as you might expect considering the weather we have had! The wind has reached speeds of over 40mph and several stormy showers have added to the assault. However, the wind and rain have been interspersed with the odd sunny spell, and we had a report of the most glorious-sounding rainbow, I only wish I could have seen it!

We only had one glimpse of an Osprey on the nest today. 28(10) landed on it at about 11:00, but he didn’t stay for long – the wind almost blew him off! It’s very likely that he spent most of the day sheltering from the wind somewhere.

28 on the nest today

28 on the nest today

28 holding on tightly against the wind

28 holding on tightly against the wind

 

Having three cameras to play with is fantastic. Here is a video created using some of the clips from yesterday, showing 28 flying over the nest where 25 is sitting, and then coming in to land on the T-perch.

We also have news of another arrival! Another male Osprey returned to his breeding territory yesterday – 06(09), a male who bred for the first time last season.

We hope to see more Ospreys arriving over the coming days.

 

Let's hear it for the boy

Let’s hear it for the boy

There has been so much going on in Manton Bay today, it was unbelievable! We have had not one, not two, but three Ospreys in the Bay!

The excitement began at about 10:00… I was in the wonderful Waderscrape hide, opening up for the day, when a high-pitched call broke the silence of the empty Bay. It was 28(10) flying in, carrying a fish and being chased by gulls!

Here is a video of him coming in to land on the T-perch:

And being mobbed by some gulls:

28 with fish (2)

28 on the T perch

28 on the nest

28 landed on the nest briefly

 

We had thought that 28 might stay in Manton Bay, as there may be the opportunity for him to breed on this nest, as he almost did last year. So we were not surprised when he came flying in this morning with a fish. He sat on the T-perch for a couple of hours, alternating between eating and keeping a wary eye on the gulls and crows who wanted to steal his catch. We are all delighted that 28 is back, and also that he seems to have decided to remain in Manton Bay, as it means there will be an Osprey there every day for people to see from the hide, and also for us to show them from the Lyndon Centre.

I had stationed myself resolutely by the big screen to record any Osprey activity that might transpire. I was not disappointed, as, at about 13:00, an Osprey landed on the nest! One glance told me that this bird wasn’t 28(10), it was a female sporting a green ring – 5N(04)! The very same female who visited this nest last week.

5N on the nest

5N on the nest

5N(04)

5N(04)

 

5N seemed quite content to sit on the nest and enjoy the view, and 28 continued to eat his fish on the T-perch. He made no move to go to 5N on the nest or chase her off it. About 15 minutes later, though, 28 left his perch and circled the nest. 5N watched him for a few seconds then flew off the nest.

The pair of them circled around together, and ended up sitting next to each other on the perch!

5N and 28 on the T-perch

5N and 28 on the T-perch

 

Then, as if there wasn’t enough excitement already, 25(10) appeared! This is another breeding female who is waiting for her mate to join her at her nest site.

This video shows 25 flying into the nest from the left, then 28 passes overhead:

25(10)

25(10)

 

Three Ospreys in the Bay! It was quite hard to keep up with the movements of all of them – there was a lot of flying about and hopping from the nest to the perch. 5N seemed to dislike the other two being on the nest, and chased them off whenever they were on it.

This video shows 25 flying off the nest as 5N flies in:

This video shows 28 and then 25 leaving the nest, as 5N flies in again:

 

At about 14:30, 25 was sitting on the nest, then 28 appeared above her and attempted to mate with her, as the video below shows. As you can see, it was not a successful attempt, but 25 seemed receptive.

25 and 28

25 and 28

25 and 28

25 and 28

 

Eventually, at about 15:15, both females disappeared – presumably back to their own nest sites – and 28 was alone in the Bay once more.

25 and 5N are clearly getting impatient waiting for their respective mates, and are touring the area, looking around at other nest sites. Both birds have dropped in on Manton Bay before just recently (5N on Friday, 25 on Saturday), but did not stay for more than a minute at most. This time they stayed longer, probably because 28(10) was here, and the presence of a male would encourage them to stay.

What an exciting day! I can only hope tomorrow is just as exhilarating!

 

It's 28(10)!

It’s 28(10)!

There has been some more excitement here at Lyndon today – another Osprey is back! It’s male Osprey 28(10)! He arrived in Manton Bay this afternoon and sat on the leaning perch – the one without the camera on it!

28 was first spotted by Barrie Galpin, and soon after was identified by John Wright. He is only a day later than last year, so he must have been just ahead of the bad weather that is holding up 30(05) and presumably many other Ospreys.

Eventually 28 came to the nest, and here are a couple of videos of him, on two different cameras!

28(10) is the Osprey with the slightly damaged right wing, the one with whom Maya mated and laid three eggs at the beginning of last season, and the one who was chased off this nest by 33(11). After being chased away by 33, 28 attempted to return to the nest several times, but eventually gave in. He stayed around the area for the rest of the season and he became the star of our Osprey cruises!

The Manton Bay nest was 28’s for a short while last season, so he probably still has a link with it. Due to this, we expect that he will stay around in the Bay for a while. This is great news for the Lyndon Centre staff, and for visitors to the Centre!

But who knows what will happen next…

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30's progress on 27th and 28th March

Le voyage lent

30(05) is still in France! Since she roosted near the River Charente on 26th March, she has only travelled 209km (130 miles). On 27th March she left her roost site just after 8am and flew across the city of Saintes. She then headed north-east, travelling at speeds of about 30kph (18mph), until she reached the town of Le Chardonnet, where she roosted that night, having travelled roughly 139km (86 miles). The next day, 28th March, she set off at about 7am and, at speeds of 17kph (10mph), she continued north-east for a further 68km (42 miles), then settled down to roost again.

30's progress on 27th and 28th March

30’s progress on 27th and 28th March

 

This shows us that 30’s path is still not trouble-free, and she is struggling to make any significant progress. The reason for this is similar to the problems she met in Spain – rain. As you can see from the map below, the weather on the northern coast of France looks bad for today, so perhaps she will remain where she is for the time being, and continue when the weather improves.

The weather over France today

The weather over France today

 

The conditions look a little bit better on Monday, so hopefully 30 will be able to make more progress northwards. She has another 565km (350 miles) to go to reach Rutland.  The weather has really affected the speed of her return this year – she is already a week behind the time it took her to get home last spring, which was an amazing eleven days! We are looking forward to her arrival in the next couple of days.

30 has 350 more miles to go

30 has 350 miles further to go

 

Don’t forget that you can view the latest positions of all of the World Osprey Week birds on our interactive map!