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By Tim on October 28, 2014
Our satellite-tagged Osprey, 30(05), has now been at her wintering site on the Senegal coast for over six weeks, and she has settled into the same winter routine as last year. Like last year she is fishing a maximum of 2km out to sea once or twice per day and then spending the rest of her time perched in exactly the same places as last winter; either on the beach or in the scattered trees just inland. You can see just how similar her daily routines are to last year by checking out the satellite tracking map and zooming in on the beach.
The fact that 30 is favouring the same area as last winter is typical of an adult Osprey; most remain faithful to the same wintering site each year. When John Wright, Paul Stammers, Cat Barlow and Junkung Jadama visited the beach last winter they thought that it was a safe place for an Osprey to spend the winter and so it is excellent news that she is settled there again. You can read more about their visit here.
By Tim on October 9, 2014
In March this year we linked over 100 schools from nine different countries during the inaugural World Osprey Week. We hoped that links with schools located elsewhere on the Osprey migratory flyways would bring the amazing migratory journeys to life for the students. The week was a great success and plans are well underway for World Osprey Week 2015 from 23rd-29th March next year.
Although the focus of World Osprey Week is on the spring migration of the Ospreys, we hope that schools will continue to follow the Ospreys and to maintain links throughout the year. With this in mind, last week Xarles Cepeda from the Urdaibai Bird Center in the Basque Country organised a Skype call to link some of the schools who participated in WOW in March. I was asked to chair the call and so it was with some excitement that I arrived at Edith Weston School in Rutland last Friday afternoon. Edith Weston is the closest school to the Lyndon Visitor Centre and so it seemed fitting for them to be involved. We logged onto Skype and established connections with the Urdaibai Bird Centre (where children from Montorre and Urretxindorra Schools were waiting), Bolonia School in Tarifa in southern Spain, Istituto Comprensivo Grosseto 1 in Italy and Tanji Lower Basic School in The Gambia. We were also joined on Skype by Iain MacLeod from the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center in New Hampshire, USA. You may remember that we followed one of Iain’s satellite tagged Ospreys, named Donovan, during WOW.
The Skype call allowed the children from the different schools to give short presentations about Ospreys and Iain talked about his work with Ospreys in the United States: with the aid of the Osprey that he keeps at Squam Lakes. The Osprey was found injured a few years agao and although it never recovered sufficiently to be released, Iain now uses the Osprey to teach students about the birds.
The children from Edith Weston read stories and poems that they had written about Osprey migration. Here are two of them:
Osprey’s Journey by Alicia
I looked around and saw the dull grey water and the trees – leaves abandoned. A strong wind ruffled in my feathers and the temperature began to drop. These were signs to tell me that it was Winter: the time all ospreys go to Africa, where the warmth lives. I spread my enormous wings – my journey had just begun.
Quickly, I flapped my wings against the harsh wind which was so strong that I had to use all my effort as I was so heavy with my large wingspan. I was soaring past fluffy snow-white but the golden sun never moved out of the way. It was as if it was chasing me while I glided through the deep blue sky.
In front of my eyes was my rest point, France! I heard children say “Bonjour,” to me; I realized that it meant “hello,” in my home’s language, English. I also heard people talk about a lake: lake means fish! Dinner was now in my hands! I flew over to the lake they were talking about and I caught a mackerel, a wriggling eel and a rainbow trout: eels were said to be rare in that lake! I had a rest on the Eiffel Tower: the land mark my parents talked about and I set off to Madrid, Spain!
Off I went soaring through the sky again, heading to Spain with the wind carrying me across the horizon to my next destination. While I was flying, I caught ten mackerel: fresh from the sea. “Yummy,” I whispered, looking out for land for Spain.
Sooner than I thought, there it was, Spain! I screeched in happiness as I was so close to Africa! Carefully, I listened to cheering which lead me to the football stadium where I gave Spain a goal because I kicked the ball into the goal. Everyone went crazy about my goal – have they never seen an osprey play football? I went over to a little stream for my dinner – you can tell I love my fish. I thought I should go to and set off to Africa.
I left Spain and set off to Africa, wondering what it might be like – the only thing I knew about it was the warmth, the sun and rare fish. I knew I was getting close because it was getting hotter and hotter.
I saw millions of ospreys dead ahead of me; I knew I was at the right place. My family was waving to me and all my friends were glad to see me. I enjoyed my journey and now I am happy to be in Africa with all my relations.
An Osprey’s migration by Melissa
This was the time. I am going to migrate to Africa. It will be a huge change in my life. I will miss the nest, the hides (though there not very hidden.) and all I can see is the dull, grey water. Here I go, I took one look at the camera then I set off.
WOW! I was starting my first ever migration because it’s getting nearer and nearer to winter here at Rutland. As I flew over, it started to get dark and I thought to myself it is going to be a starry night I better be quick to get to France, Paris.
Suddenly above me I could see other ospreys and they were all around me. Now I have just spotted in the distance the Eiffel tower and it was AMAZING! Just at that moment, I spotted a lake full of yummy fish. After a while I went down rested and then ate yummy fish.
The next day I started to travel to Spain and I spotted a church on the coast of Spain and I stopped on the cross of a famous church.
After my little nap I travelled to AFRICA! I will make it to Africa. I will see all the other ospreys and it will be very warm. Just at that very moment there was a huge canal that was full of my favourite fish. In the distance I could see all of the other Ospreys and I had finally made it to Africa, Senegal. I met all my friends and some of my family it was a huge change in my life but then I kept thinking of the nest and everything at Rutland. Then when it gets back to spring at Rutland I will travel back home with everyone else.
Thank you to Alicia, Melissa and all the children from Edith Weston for their excellent stories and poems. A huge thank you as well to to everyone who took part in the Skype link and particularly to Xarles Cepeda at the Urdaibai Bird Centre for organising it. How amazing to link people in three different continents!
Although World Osprey Week is still five months away, you can sign your school up now for free access to 38 lesson plans for both primary and secondary schools. The lesson plans are cross-curricular and will provide a new and exciting learning experience for your pupils. To sign-up, click here. Registering for WOW also gives you the chance to contact other schools who have signed up for the project, to create your own page on the website and to be added to our interactive WOW map.
By Tim on October 8, 2014
As you will know if you have visited Rutland Water, volunteers are essential to the reserve. Whether it is managing habitats, greeting visitors, recording wildlife or monitoring Ospreys, we simply couldn’t do what we do without them; each year over 350 volunteers dedicate an amazing 35,000 hours to the reserve.
In recent years it has become increasingly obvious that we need better facilities to support the incredible work of our volunteers. With that in mind work has now started on a Volunteer Training Centre. The centre, which is being built just to the north of Lagoon 4, will provide much-needed new facilities, including training and learning areas, bunk rooms for residential courses, meeting spaces, a kitchen and a mess room, workshop with storage for tools and equipment, wash-rooms and drying facilities. To find out more about this exciting new building, click here.
The Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded us £632,655 towards the Volunteer Training Centre and we have also received valuable funding from Anglian Water and various charitable trusts, but we must urgently find £170,000 to complete the build. With this in mind, we are launching the Wild Lives at Rutland Water appeal.
The Wild Lives appeal gets off the ground this weekend with a special challenge. A team of Rutland Water volunteers, staff and supporters are attempting to match the amazing 3000 mile migration of an Osprey from Rutland to West Africa. If you followed the journey of Osprey 30(05) from Rutland Water to the Senegalese coast this September, you’ll know that the flight took her 11 days to complete. However on Saturday the 3000 miles challenge team (as we’re calling them) are attempting to travel as far as possible in just one day. So far more than 80 people have signed-up to run, walk, cycle and kayak a total of almost 1500 miles around Rutland Water – that’s the equivalent of Rutland to Casablanca as the Osprey flies! The event is open for absolutely any one to join and it doesn’t matter how far you pledge to travel; in this case every single mile counts. So if you would like to join us and help us travel the equivalent of even further across Africa, you can sign-up here.
If you can’t join us on the day, then we’d be very grateful if you would consider sponsoring the team. You can do so via our Virgin Money Giving page.
We are very grateful to Anglian Water for providing free kayaks and canoes for the challenge and to Rutland Cycling for offering 20% off bike hire for anyone who’s participating. The team will be setting-off from Whitwell at 10am on Saturday morning – fingers crossed for some good ‘migrating’ weather!
By Tim on September 25, 2014
It has been another great season for the project and this year we celebrated in style at our inaugural Osprey Ball. The ball, which was held at the superb Barnsdale Lodge Hotel, was an opportunity for project supporters, volunteers and staff to reflect on an excellent summer and to raise valuable funds for the project.
We were particularly delighted to welcome IEPUK to the ball. IEPUK – who are based in Uppingham – are a not-for-profit education and training organisation who have been working around the world for over 20 years. Their core business is to create opportunities for young people to gain skills and experience within the land-based sector. This fits in very well with the Rutland Osprey Project’s work in West Africa and we were delighted to receive a donation of £808 at the ball from IEPUK Director, George Peach. This valuable donation will help us to develop our work with schools in The Gambia and enable students to participate in a survey of wintering Ospreys that we’re organising in conjunction with the Gambian Department for Parks and Wildlife Management this winter. This is the first time that such a survey has ever been undertaken in The Gambia and it will provide valuable experience for the students in the company of professional bird guides and ornithologists, including author of the Birds of the Gambia, Clive Barlow and Osprey Flyways Project Co-ordinator, Junkung Jadama. Click on the video below to find out more about our work in The Gambia.
In addition to the generous donation from IEPUK, ticket sales and a raffle on the night generated a further £750. It was a wonderful evening and one that we will definitely repeat next year. Watch this space!
We are extremely grateful to everyone who donated prizes for the raffle, namely Oakham Wines, In Focus, the Horse & Jockey, Paul Stammers, Trish Ruddle, Dr Rob Lambert, Barnsdale Lodge, Eyebrook Wild Bird Foods and Mike Simmons. Thanks also to Corporate Architecture for sponsoring a table.
Posted in Osprey Team Latest
By Tim on September 12, 2014
She’s done it! The latest satellite data from 30(05)’s transmitter shows that she reached her winter home on the Senegal coast at 11am yesterday morning after an amazing 11-day migration from Rutland.
The previous batch of data had shown that 30 roosted in the remote desert of Western Sahara on Sunday evening. Next morning she must have left her overnight roost site at around 9:30am because by 10am she was 18km further south, heading south-west at 41kph at an altitude of 660 metres. She continued to make fairly steady progress over the next four hours and by 2pm she had flown 158 kilometres on a south-south-westerly heading at altitudes of between 500 and 1300 metres. During the heat of the afternoon she took advantage of thermals created by the searing desert, crossing into Mauritania just after 4pm and continuing south-south-east at high altitude. By 6pm, she had covered another 133km and was migrating at an altitude of 2300 metres. An hour later she was a further 31km south-east and now even higher: 2440 metres above the remote and desolate desert. She continued flying for another hour before settling to roost on the desert floor in northern Mauritania after a day’s flight of 350 km.
By first light on Tuesday morning 30 had moved 2km south from her position the previous evening and, like on Monday she resumed her migration at around 9:30am. For the first time in ten days of migration, though, it seemed that conditions were not in her favour. During the course of the day she only flew another 164 kilometres before settling to roost in the desert of central Mauritania.
For a third morning in succession, 30 resumed her migration at around 9:30am on Wednesday. By 11am she had flown 47 kilometres and was flying south at 34kph at an altitude of 350 metres. Conditions for migration must have been much better than on Tuesday because over the course of the next four hours she covered a further 146km at altitudes of over 1000 metres. 30 must have now sensed that she was getting closer to her winter home; she had made a distinct turn to the south-west and was nearing the Senegal border. At 17:30 she passed over Richard Toll and into Senegal, crossing the Senegal River; almost certainly the first water she had seen for at least four days. After flying over the huge Lac de Guiers she pressed on towards the coast. She passed to the east of St Louis as dusk was falling at 7pm and continued flying for almost an hour after dark before reaching the coast and settling to roost for the night. She was now just 40km north of Lompoul beach after a day’s flight of 450km.
By 9am next morning 30 was perched 23km south of her overnight roost site, probably eating her first fish for five days. She didn’t linger there for long, though. Two hours later she was perched in one of her favourite trees just inland from Lompoul beach. Just over 11 days after leaving Rutland, she was back at the site where she has spent every winter since her first autumn migration in September 2005. She had arrived two days later than last year, but having departed from Rutland 48 hours later than the previous year, her migration has taken exactly the same length of time. And when I say exactly, I mean exactly. If you give or take a few minutes, her journey last autumn took a total of 267 hours.This year it was…yes, you guessed it, 267 hours. Remarkable!
Having arrived at her winter home 30 will spend the next six months in leisurely fashion; catching one or two fish each day and then spending the rest of her time on her favourite perches on the beach or just inland. We know exactly what the beach looks like because last year project team members Paul Stammers and John Wright visited it. To read about their trip, click here.
We’ll be sure to keep you updated with 30′s movements over the coming months and watch out for a summary of her migration early next week. In the meantime, take a minute to marvel at this most incredible of migrations. Over the course of her 11-day journey 30 flew 4681km (2908 miles). She certainly deserves a rest!
Don’t forget that you can also view 30′s migration on your own version of Google Earth. To find out how, click here.
By Tim on September 8, 2014
Our satellite-tagged Osprey, 30(05) continues to make staggering progress on her autumn migration. The latest data shows that at 9pm last night she was roosting in the remote desert of Western Sahara just eight days after leaving Rutland.
The previous data from the 30′s satellite transmitter had shown that on the night of 4th September she had roosted north-east of Rabat in northern Morocco. Next morning she resumed her migration at first light, passing Rabat at 8am local time (7am GMT) and then maintaining a perfect south-westerly course for the next seven hours at altitudes of between 250 metres and 1000 metres. By 3pm she had already flown 320km and at that point she made a distinct turn to the south. Two hours later the vast Atlas Mountains would have been prominent on the horizon and, like her autumn migration in 2013, she turned to the south-west in order to skirt across the western foothills of the mountains; thereby avoiding the high peaks further east.
She may have missed the high mountains, but nevertheless at 7pm 30 was migrating at an altitude of more than 3000 metres and an hour later – with darkness falling – she was still going: heading due south at 33kph at an altitude of 1820 metres. Finally, at around 8:30pm she settled to roost for the night in a cultivated area just south of the mountains having flown a total of 536 kilometres during the day; her longest day’s flight thus far.
Next morning 30 resumed her migration later than the previous day; by 10am she was only 18km south-west of her overnight roost suggesting that she may have found somewhere to fish before resuming her migration. At midday she was just 11km from the coast, but at that point she turned to a more southerly heading, passing to the east of Tiznit and then past Guelmin. As she headed south the terrain would have become increasingly arid with spectacular rock formations and ridges. By 5pm she was passing just a few kilometres to the east of the area where another of our satellite-tagged birds, 09(98) sadly came to grief in 2012. The film below, made by Moroccan wildlife film-maker Lahoucine Faouzi, gives you an idea of just how inhospitable this area is.
At 6pm 30 passed over a spectacular ridge that you can see in Lahoucine’s film. Satellite-tracking studies have shown that many Osprey use this ridge to aid their navigation, and sure enough, 30 made a distinct turn to the south-west as she passed over this ridge; exactly as she had done on her autumn migration last year.
30 continued migrating for another two hours, before settling to roost in an area of sparse vegetation at 8pm having flown 352 kilometres during the course of the day. It is fascinating to see how her route almost exactly mirrored that of her flight on 4th September 2013. Both her morning and evening roosts were within 15km of her previous journey.
Yesterday morning 30 was migrating again at first light. Conditions must have been good for migration because during the course of the day she maintained an almost-perfect south-westerly heading at altitudes ranging from 360 metres to 1210 metres. In just over 10 hours of migrating 30 flew 561 kilomtres; an average speed of more than 50kph. She eventually settled to roost on the desert floor just after 5pm in an extremely remote part of Western Sahara.
This all means that just eight days after leaving Rutland Water 30 has flown a remarkable 3665km. If she maintains similar speeds, she could arrive at her wintering site on the Senegal coast as early as Wednesday…watch this space! Last year she did the migration in 11 days; and she’s certainly on course to at least match that again this year.
Don’t forget that you can also view 30′s migration on your own version of Google Earth. To find out how, click here.
By Tim on September 5, 2014
They’re still here! If you’re planning a visit to Rutland Water this weekend, then there is every chance that you will see an Osprey. Both Maya and 33(11) were at the nest all day, and they were still there this evening. We shouldn’t really be surprised; Maya has been one of the last Ospreys to depart from Rutland Water over the past few years and it would seem that 33(11) is following her lead. He probably wants to make sure that rival male 51(11) – who is still also present – doesn’t get a look-in with his new mate. He’s certainly continuing to do everything as he should; here’s a video of 33 delivering a fine trout to the nest yesterday afternoon.
The Lyndon Visitor Centre is open all weekend – so we hope to see you then!
By Tim on September 5, 2014
Migration never ceases to amaze me. The latest batch of data from 30′s satellite transmitter shows that just five days after leaving Rutland, she roosted close to Rabat in northern Morocco last night.
The last batch of data had shown that at 7am on Tuesday morning, 30 was flying south through northern Spain. By 10am she had flown another 120 kilometres and was powering her way through the mountains of La Rioja. At midday she passed just to the west of Soria at an altitude of 1780 metres. Ospreys often reach very high altitudes as they migrate across Spain and over the course of the next six hours, 30 did the same. By 6pm she had flown another 256km at altitudes of up to 3260 metres – that’s well over 10,000 feet. She was now some 115km south-west of Madrid, but showing no signs of letting-up. She made a distinct turn to the south-east and then flew another 35 kilometres before settling for the night in an agricultural area five kilometres west of Villarrobledo in Catile-LaMancha province. She had flown 517km; meaning that she had flown a staggering 1500km in just three days of migration.
We have not yet received the full batch of GPS fixes for the next morning, but she clearly made a slower start than previous days because at 1pm local time (12:00GMT) she was just 87km south-east of her overnight position. Over the course of the afternoon she made her way through the eastern part of the Sierra Morena mountains before settling for the night among olive groves in Andalucia.Her day’s flight of 256km was half that of previous days, but significantly, she was now within striking distance of Africa.
30 left her roost site soon after first light and flew 25km south-west to Embalse de Malpasillo. She almost certainly caught a fish there because for the next two hours she was perched four kilometres south-west of the reservoir, presumably eating her breakfast. By 10am she was migrating again and two-and-a-half hours later she reached the Spanish coast at Marbella. Unlike most raptors who head further south-west to make the short 14km flight across the Strait of Gibraltar to Morocco, 30 simply headed straight out to sea. By 2pm she had flown 67 kilometres across the Mediterranean and was now flying just 10 metres above the waves at 19kph. An hour later she reached Morocco, making landfall near Tetouan after flying over 100km across the open sea.
Having reached Africa, 30 showed no signs of letting up. Over the course of the next five hours she flew another 187 kilometres south-west and then south-south-west through northern Morocco at altitudes of between 200 and 1000 metres. She eventually settled for the night in a cultivated area 50km north-east of Rabat, after a day’s flight of 413km.
After just five days, she has covered a remarkable 2216km and has already left Europe behind. The imposing Atlas Mountains and the vast wilds of the Sahara are next. Don’t forget that you can also view 30′s migration on your own version of Google Earth. To find out how, click here.
By Tim on September 2, 2014
As Kayleigh reported earlier today, things have been turning distinctly autumnal at Rutland Water in the past few days. One by one the Ospreys have been heading south, and we now know that our satellite-tagged bird, 30(05) is one of them. The latest data from her satellite transmitter shows that at 6am this morning, 30 was in northern Spain, 20 kilometres to the east of San Sebastiàn having set-off from Rutland on Sunday morning.
We don’t know exactly what time 30 left the Rutland Water area on Sunday, but it must have been fairly early because at 10am her transmitter showed that she was in northern Buckinghamshire, midway between Banbury and Milton Keynes, flying purposefully south at an altitude of 550 metres. She made excellent progress over the next four hours, continuing south through Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Hampshire at altitudes of between 500 and 1000 metres. By 2pm she had flown 151 km in four hours and was 1230 metres above the Isle of Wight with the English Channel in her sights. She made light work of the crossing to France and by 6pm GMT she was flying south through Lower Normandy. She eventually settled to roost for the night on the edge of a small wood, 55km west of Le Mans after a day’s flight of at least 520 kilometres.
Next morning 30 was on the move at first light because at 7am local time (6am GMT) she was already 46km south of her overnight roost site, and was flying due south at 31kph. She paused briefly on the edge of a small copse at 8am, but by 9am she was on the wing again, passing over the River Loire soon afterwards. Four hours later she was passing just to the west of La Rochelle at an altitude of 1500 metres. She had already covered 210 kilometres but was showing no signs of letting-up. Using the west coast of France to guide her, 30 flew another 290 kilometres during the afternoon and by 7pm she was just north of the town of Capbreton in the south of France. On Google Earth the area around Capbreton looks good for fishing and by 9pm 30 had settled for the evening in a forested area just north of Ondres having almost certainly caught a fish in one of the nearby lakes. Over the course of the day she had flown another 510 kilometres; another excellent day’s migration.
This morning 30 was on the move early again. Like the previous day, she had already flown another 40km by 7am local time, passing Biarritz and then across the Spanish border. By this evening she may well be close to Madrid. It will be fascinating to see how far she has flown when the next batch of data comes in.
Don’t forget that you can also view 30′s migration on your own version of Google Earth. To find out how, click here.
By Tim on August 30, 2014
In central England you can safely say that if you see a large bird of prey diving into the water to take a fish, it will be an Osprey. Or can you? Over the past few weeks several photographers have been getting some great images of Red Kites taking fish at River Gwash Trout Farm at Ryhall in Rutland. Over the course of the summer we have worked with Lawrence Ball and Jamie Weston to build photography hides at Ryhall and at Lawrence’s second site at Horn Mill. Although Osprey fishing activity has dropped off at both sites in recent weeks, Red Kites have been diving into the ponds at Ryhall to take dead fish. As these superb photos by Geoff Harries show, it is making for a quite a spectacle.
The kites are likely to continue to take fish in this way for the next few weeks, so it is well worth booking a spot in the hide at Ryhall. To do so, email email@example.com. For more information about the hide and also the one at Horn Mill Trout Farm, click here.