An Osprey here, four Ospreys there…

I will never ever tire of watching Ospreys fish – it is an incredible experience. Here in Africa, the views we are getting of Ospreys catching fish are second to none.

Yesterday we went to the river mouth again, and had several Ospreys flying over us and fishing. One bird caught a fish very close to where we were standing, and the bird’s execution of the act was pure poetry. Gracefully she sailed down towards the water, legs outstretched, and, almost in slow motion, she extended her talons and delicately plucked a huge fish from near the surface of the water, with one foot! Then she proceeded to fly away with it. Easy.

Here is a sequence of photos showing the bird fishing, taken by John Wright.

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Later in the day, we walked down towards the mangroves to attempt to get close to the Ospreys we had seen from the boat, that were sitting on sand/mud banks. We waded out through the shallow waters of the receding tide, found a quiet corner in which to stand, and waited.

Wading through the water. Photo by Paul Stammers.

Wading through the water. Photo by Paul Stammers.

Watching an Osprey fishing. Photo by Paul Stammers.

Watching an Osprey fishing. Photo by Paul Stammers.

 

We were not disappointed. An Osprey would soar into view, plunge towards the water and catch a fish, then fly away to perch in a tree and eat it. Then another Osprey would come along. At one point there were four Ospreys in the air in front of us, all attempting to fish. Some were more successful than others in their attempts. It was fantastic to watch their aerial acrobatics as they tumbled and swooped, diving fast and pulling out, diving again and plunging in with a splash, to emerge triumphant, clutching a fish. One Osprey grabbed a rather large fish and held on to it with just one talon! The fish was squirming and wriggling, and the Osprey struggled to hold on, trying to grab the fish’s head with her other foot. Eventually, the Osprey lost her grip and dropped it. Here is another great sequence from John!

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Whilst we were there, a group of five Black Crowned Cranes flew in, and landed on a little island nearby! We stood as still as we could, blending into the trees so as not to startle the birds, and as such had some lovely views of the group feeding. The group consisted of four adults and a juvenile.

Osprey above the cranes, photo by John Wright

Osprey above the cranes, photo by John Wright

Black Crowed Cranes, photo by John Wright

Black Crowed Cranes, photos by John Wright

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On the way back, we saw an Osprey perched on top of a sign to a fish restaurant!

Osprey on sign, photo by John Wright

Osprey on sign, photo by John Wright

 

Today we went on another boat trip with Babucarr, and had some more excellent Osprey sightings! Several birds caught fish very close to us. One particular highlight was a German Osprey, with leg ring AL33, who perched for a long time on a little bit of tree root, and allowed the boat to inch ever nearer to him, gifting us some superb views.

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AL33, photos by John Wright

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John carried out a bit of extreme digiscoping in order to photograph AL33 on his perch – leaning over the side of the boat with the tripod in the water!

Extreme digiscoping. Photo by Kayleigh Brookes.

Extreme digiscoping. Photo by Kayleigh Brookes.

 

We’ve had such an amazing time at the Somone Lagoon, staying at the lovely Les Manguiers de Guereo. The view from the pool area, looking down towards the lagoon, is superb!

The pool and view, photo by Kayleigh Brookes

The pool and view, photo by Kayleigh Brookes

Sunrise over the Somone Lagoon. Photo by Kayleigh Brookes.

Sunrise over the Somone Lagoon. Photo by Kayleigh Brookes.

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Pink-backed Pelicans, photo by John Wright

Pink-backed Pelicans

Senegalese women crossing the lagoon

Senegalese women crossing the lagoon, photo by John Wright

 

Tomorrow we are heading north towards Lompoul to find our satellite-tagged female, 30(05)! The data we are receiving from her satellite-transmitter lets us know her position. Here are some maps showing her location over the past few months. As you can see from the cluster of red dots, she doesn’t move much from her favourite spot on the beach! Paul and John have been to see her before, of course, so they know exactly where to expect her to be! We will bring you news of the next step of our adventure when we return from the desert next week!

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3 responses to “An Osprey here, four Ospreys there…”

  1. Sally Bell

    So jealous! It all sounds amazing!

  2. Jennifer Rhodes.

    I am enjoying reading and seeing the beautiful photos John Wright as taken,it brings back the good times we spent in The Gambia bird watching and the thrill seeing an Osprey.waiting for the next episode ,hope you find30(05)fit and well.

  3. Mike Simmonds

    Thank you Kayleigh. A great blog . Good luck with the search for 30(05)