Yesterday afternoon we were wondering if 09 would make it across the English Channel. The answer is, yes he did! Last night he roosted close to Winchester, just 110 miles from home.
As Michelle reported yesterday, at 1pm he was perched in Northern France, just 15 miles south of the English Channel. An hour later he had evidently decided that the time was right to cross to England because he was flying north at 40kph. By 3pm he was over the sea, just 9 metres above the waves. He maintained a consistent pace of 35-40kph for the next four hours, at altitudes of between 6 and 32 metres. A NE headwind resulted in him drifting slightly west as he crossed the Channel, but by 6pm he was within sight of land, flying over the western part of the Isle of Wight , over the Solent Estauary and then on towards Southampton.
Once in English airspace, he turned north-east, his in-built compass directing him back towards Rutland Water. The last GPS position of the day showed him perched just south of Winchester and later non-GPS signals showed that he roosted in a wooded area 3.5 miles north-east of the town. He was now just 110 miles away from Rutland Water after a day’s flight of 184 miles – exactly the same average speed that he maintained during his spring migration.
We’ll be at his nest today, hopefully in time to see him arrive home. Watch this space!