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She’ll be coming round the mountain…

30(05), our satellite-tagged osprey, is now in Africa! She has been making excellent progress on her autumn migration this season, and is already three-quarters of the way to her wintering grounds! She has been travelling for eight days, and has covered a total distance of 1865 miles / 3002km! As of 5th September at 9pm, she was just north of the border between Morocco and Western Sahara.

Journey so far Sept 2016

30’s journey so far


When we last reported 30’s movements, she was in central Spain, heading towards Gibraltar. She made the crossing of the Strait of Gibraltar to the west of the main Strait, at quite a wide angle. Last season she crossed slightly east of Gibraltar. This time, she left Spain at Zahora at 7am on 3rd September, and two hours later made landfall in Morocco at Asilah – a crossing of 48 miles / 77km.

Gibraltar autumn 2016

30’s crossing of the Strait of Gibraltar


Perhaps the wind blew her west, away from her usual course over the Strait. Whatever the reason, 30 safely made it to the other side and continued strongly on her southward journey. She roosted just north of the Atlas mountains that evening, then on 4th September headed around them, taking her usual route around the end of the mountains towards Agadir.

Atlas mountains autumn 2016

Skirting the Atlas Mountains


She did fly across the very edge of the mountains though, at the western tip, as you can see in the image below!

Autumn 2016 Atlas mountains

Over the end of the mountains


30’s next challenge is the Sahara crossing. I wonder whether she will be the other side of it when we next receive data…



Step by step

Today we received the data for the last two days of 30’s migration – she’s now in central Spain! She continued flying directly south when she set off from her roost site in northwest France at 6am on Wednesday, and by 2pm was passing over Bordeaux. She then followed the coastline along the edge of the Bay of Biscay, and entered Spain in the northeast corner. After entering Spain, she continued to travel in a southwesterly direction, and last night she roosted near a small river, just 3km / 2 miles south of Burguillos de Toledo, 77km / 48 miles south of Madrid.

Over the past two days, 31st August and 1st September, 30 covered 960km / 596 miles, so since leaving Rutland on 30th August, she has travelled a total distance of 1480 km / 919 miles! It won’t take her long to get there at this rate! The images below show her position as of 8pm on 1st September.

1st Sept postion 1st Sept roost site

30 will now be on her way towards Morocco! Both last year and the year before she crossed the Strait of Gibraltar slightly east of Gibraltar itself, making landfall just south of Ceuta, so it’s very likely she will do the same thing again. We will see in a day or so!

Follow her on our interactive map!




Right said Fred

It’s 2nd September, and both adult ospreys remain in Manton Bay! They are still very attached to the nest, and have been on and off it frequently all morning. 33 in particular has been very enthusiastic about preparing the nest for next year. You can see that it has already changed in appearance from a few weeks ago when the juveniles were still here. There are several new sticks, some soft nest material, and he’s even been scraping the nest cup out! That’s either incredibly efficient forward planning, or a backwards instinct that has made him think it’s spring…

Bum's up

Bum’s up




Ospreys are very strongly governed by their instincts, and nest building is an integral part of their lives in the summer. They continue to build up the nest throughout the season, and still feel the need to do so now at the very end of it, when there isn’t any need. In 2014, their first year together, in which they did not breed, Maya and 33 spent the entire summer building up the nest, for a breeding season that wasn’t going to happen. Instinctive nest building is sometimes seen when a nest fails, when birds often begin to build new nests, called frustration eyries, after they adandon the nest that failed.

It’s great that Maya and 33 are still here to entertain visitors. We all know by now that we can’t predict with any certainty the behaviour of any animal, especially this pair of ospreys! In 2014, they stayed in Manton Bay until 7th and 8th September. That year, Maya left before 33, and he followed on the day after. We all joked that he was so attached to the nest, having won it from 28, that he couldn’t bear to leave and would stay all winter! Alas, he left, as they will both do sometime soon.

We ain't leavin'

We ain’t leavin’



Only just begun

We have been checking 30’s satellite data regularly over the past few days, anticipating that she would soon be beginning her southward migration. We are very excited to tell you that she has now set off! A day earlier than last season, 30 left Rutland at 7am on Tuesday 30th August. Twelve hours later, she was 30 miles West of Le Mans in France! That means in her first day of migrating, she travelled a total distance of 520km / 323 miles!

The following map shows the route she took on day one. It’s amazing how directly south her trajectory is. She chose to cross the English Channel at its widest point, instead of heading to Dover and crossing where it’s narrowest, which is the route she usually favours when returning in spring.

30's journey day one south

30’s journey day one


We will receive the next batch of 30’s data over the next couple of days. I wonder where she will be by then…

Follow her on our interactive map!

In Manton Bay, we still have both adult ospreys! The dates they left last season are drawing nearer (2nd and 3rd September), so we may only have them around for another day or two. Hurry over to the Lyndon Reserve to see them before they go!

33 with Pike

33 with Pike (photo John Wright)


We also still have the long-tailed duck on the Lyndon Reserve, which can be seen from Teal hide.


Long-tailed duck (photo Paul Stammers)