After a slow start to her migration, the latest satellite data shows that in the last two days 30 has made much better progress and now has Europe firmly in her sights. Non-GPS locations showed that last night she roosted on a wooded hillside close to the village of Douar Aghrame, just 70 miles south of the Strait of Gibraltar.
Having roosted close to Western Sahara-Mauritania border on the night of 17th March, 30 resumed her migration shortly before 9am. Not long afterwards she crossed the border into neighbouring Algeria. By 1pm she had covered 158 kilometres and was flying north at an altitude of 550 metres at 39kph. She was now clearly determined to make up for lost time. By 6pm she had covered a further 230 kilometres, but she showed no signs of letting up. She headed powerfully over the Anti-Atlas Mountains and at 10pm was at an altitude of 270 metres. Conditions must have been good for migration because she continued flying until after midnight, not settling to roost until the very early hours of 19th March after a day’s flight of a staggering 740 kilometres.
The Sahara may have been behind her, but yesterday morning 30 had to tackle the high peaks of the Atlas Mountains. She set-off at first light and by 7am had already flown 26 kilometres north. After a brief rest at 8am – perhaps waiting for the weather to clear – she approached the highest peaks shortly after 9am. The hour-by-hour data does not show her exact path through the mountains but she is likely to have flown through a mountain pass near the village of Tighermin to avoid the high peaks of over 3500 metres.
By 10am she was clear of the mountains and she continued to make steady progress north for the rest of the day, passing Fes at 2:30pm. Unlike the previous day she flew only until dark, before settling to roost on the forested hillside near Douar Aghrame having covered 333 kilometres during the day.
As the map below shows, 30’s route over the past three days has taken her much further east than previous migrations. Westerly winds are the most likely explanation, but now she is in northern Morocco she is well and truly back on track.
30 now has Europe firmly in her sights, but the weather forecast for the Strait of Gibraltar is for rain today. It may be that she will need to spend an extra day in Africa. We’ll have to wait and see.
To see the latest location of 30 – and also the other Ospreys we’re following as part of World Osprey Week, check out our interactive map.