She’s made it! The last batch of GPS data showed that last night 30 roosted on the banks of the Senegal River, having completed her crossing of the Sahara. Although, strictly speaking, she is still just in Mauritania, she will have enjoyed a Senegalese sunrise this morning.
The previous data had shown that, after flying 900km in two days, 30 had reached the deserts of Western Mauritania. She still had at least one more day’s flying to complete the desert crossing, but was making excellent progress.
On Saturday morning 30 began migrating at 9am. Three hours later, at midday, she had already covered 123 kilometres and was continuing on the same the distinctly South-westerly heading that she had maintained the previous afternoon. The direction of her flight suggested she was heading for the Mauritanian coast and her afternoon flight confirmed that. By 7pm she was just 4km from the Mauritanian coast, a few kilometres north of the capital, Nouakchott. Interestingly, the GPS data showed that she was flying due east at 7pm, so there is every chance that, having fished in the sea, she was now flying inland with her first meal for several days. An hour later she was perched 4km further east, and that is where she settled for the night after a day’s flight of at least 314km. After three days and 1200km, the majority of the desert was behind her.
Next day she resumed her migration shortly after 9am, initially flying South-east to avoid Nouakchott and then following the coastline south. She made steady progress for the rest of the day at an altitude of around 700 metres. By 5pm she had flown just over 200km and was passing just to the West of the vast Djoudj National Park. This huge wetland is home to many Ospreys each winter as well as hundreds of thousands of wildfowl. Myself, John Wright and Paul Stammers enjoyed a very memorable visit there in 2011. To read about our trip, which included finding an English Osprey, click here.
By 7pm 30 was clearly looking for somewhere to roost for the evening and an hour later she was perched just over a kilometre from the banks of the Senegal River after a day’s flight of 262km. The river forms the border between Senegal and Mauritania and, like, Djoudj, supports a good population of wintering Ospreys. On a boat trip along the river in 2011, Paul John and I saw at least 25 different individual Ospreys along a 17 mile section of the river. Here’s a video we recorded that day.
Having reached Senegal it will be very interesting to see what 30 does now. She could well spend her winter in Northern Senegal, but the speed of her migration – she has only been migrating for 11 days – suggests she is probably going to head further south. The next batch of data will be fascinating. Don’t forget to check her latest Google Map, by clicking here.