- Our Ospreys
- World Osprey Week
- Visit us / Events
Browse: Home / Tim
By Tim on September 10, 2015
She’s made it, well, almost! The latest batch of satellite data shows that at 11am this morning, 30 was in northern Senegal, just 60km from her wintering site on the coast.
As Kayleigh reported earlier in the week, the previous batch of data had shown that 30 roosted in the wilds of Western Sahara on Sunday evening. Next morning she made a slow start to her day’s flight; by 10am she was just 10km south of her overnight roost and an hour later, she had only flown another 9km. At that point, however, she changed to a more south-westely heading, and made consistent progress for the rest of the day; flying 230km over the course of the next seven hours. As she headed south-west 30 would have been using thermals created by the searing heat , to aid her migration; soaring to gain height on the thermals and then gliding onwards. By using the airflows in this way, 30 and other migrating Ospreys are able to save valuable energy during their crossing of the desert. By 6pm 30 settled to roost for the night in the Province of Oed Ed-Dehab Lagouira in the south of Western Sahara.
By 7am the next morning – her fourth in the desert – 30 had moved 1.8km south from her overnight roost. She set-off again at around 9:30am and headed purposefully south-west, passing into Mauritanian airspace between 1pm and 2pm. By the time she settled to roost at 5:30pm, she had flown a total of 365km across the desert.
Next morning 30 set-off just after 9am, initially heading south-south-east. At 11am she changed course to a south-south-westerly heading, and made steady progress across the desert during the afternoon. By early evening she was approaching the Senegal border and must have sensed she was close to home, because she continued flying until 7pm; settling to roost shortly after she had crossed the iconic Senegal River, after a day’s flight of 408km. For the first time in five nights she settled to roost in a cultivated area, having successfully crossed the vast and desolate Sahara once again.
So, just 10 days after leaving Rutland, 30 is almost certain to arrive at her wintering site today. Even for an experienced adult Osprey, this is an incredibly fast migration.
This morning’s data shows that she was still at her overnight roosting spot at 7am, but by 9am she was heading south-west over Lac du Guiers; appearing to pass up the opportunity of breakfast, in favour of an early return to the coast. By 11am she was to the east of St Louis, and heading straight for her winter home. By now (4pm) she is almost certain to have made it, but check back tomorrow to be sure!
Click here to follow 30’s journey on our special map (2015’s autumn migration is the blue line).
Alternatively, click here to follow 30 using Google Earth.
By Tim on September 4, 2015
It’s been a strange day at Lyndon today. As you’ll probably have guessed if you have been watching the webcam, Manton Bay is now devoid of Ospreys. As Kayleigh reported earlier in the week, S3 headed south on Wednesday morning and was quickly followed by 33 that lunchtime. With all of her family heading south, Maya followed suit yesterday morning. She headed east from Manton Bay shortly after 10am and hasn’t been seen since. It all means that there is a rather empty feel to Rutland Water; Manton Bay is full of life with waders such as Ruff and Greenshank patrolling the shoreline and flocks of Gadwall and Teal building-up, but it just isn’t the same without the Osprey family. Having watched their every move for the past five months, it seems strange that we don’t know where they are now. There is every chance, though, that all of the family will have now crossed the English Channel into France. We wish them well on their incredible journey. We should also say a huge thank you to Kayleigh for her wonderful blogs this summer.
We may not know where the Manton Bay family are, but there is one Rutland Osprey that we can follow throughout the autumn and winter. The latest data from her satellite transmitter shows that by 5pm on Wednesday evening, 30(05) had reached Andalucia in southern Spain.
With the first full batch of migration data now in, we know that 30 left her nest shortly after 9am on Monday morning (31st August). Remarkably this was exactly the same as autumn 2014; almost to the minute. The weather on Monday was poor for migration (rain and low cloud) but it did not stop this experienced navigator setting out on her tenth autumn migration. During the course of the morning 30 made steady progress south, and by 1pm she was already south of Bath. An easterly wind resulted in her drifting further to the west than autumn 2014, but by the time she set-off across the English Channel from Portland Bill she had begun to compensate for this westerly drift. At 3pm she was half way across the channel, 85 kilomteres west of the corresponding position (at exactly the same time) on her 2014 journey. She skirted to the east of the Channel Islands and reached the Normandy coast at 5pm; three hours after passing Portland Bill. She continued flying until 8pm when she was perched close to a lake in the town of Craon in Pays de la Loire. She had flown just under 600km from Rutland Water and, although we do not know exactly where she roosted, she was now just 25km west of her 2014 flight path.
30 must have flown further south on the night of 31st August because by 7am next morning she was 170km further south-west, just to the north of La Rochelle. The weather must have been good for migration because she maintained the same south-westerly heading over Ile de Re and then out across the Bay of Biscay. Ospreys are powerful flyers and a flight across the open sea is not the barrier it is to other species – such as Honey Buzzards – which are far more reliant on thermals to aid their journey. By 2pm 30 had completed a 350km flight across the bay of Biscay at altitudes ranging between 200 and 500 metres. Excitingly, she made landfall over the Urdaibai Estuary, where Roy Dennis has translocated Scottish Ospreys for the past three summers. Our friends at the Urdaibai Bird Center have also been closely involved in the Osprey Flyways Project and World Osprey Week, so it was exciting that 30 paid them a (brief) visit!
Unai Egia, the music teacher at Urretxindorra school, situated a few kilomoetres from Urdaibai, wrote a wonderful song about Osprey migration two years ago. Click here to watch the music video (and read the lyrics) of the song, performed by students at Montorre and Urretxindorra schools. The song seems very apt given 30’s flight this year.
Urdaibai would have been an excellent place for 30 to rest for a few hours, but she was clearly determined to continue her migration. During the course of the afternoon and early evening she flew another 311km before eventually settling to roost in a forested area 45km south of Valladolid. During the course of her day’s flight she had covered a staggering 831km.
By first light next morning 30 had moved into open field just over 1km from her roost site, and may even have caught a fish in nearby Lavajo Rabiosa. By 9am, though, she was already 20km south and, like the previous day, clearly determined to press on. By 2pm she had covered 148 kilometres at altitudes of up to 2700 metres. Conditions must have been good for migration because she flew another 149 kilomteres in the next three hours; reaching northern Andalucia at 5pm, with the Sierra Morena mountains prominent on the horizon. This meant that, less than 60 hours after leaving her nest site, 30 had flown an amazing 1728km.
30’s transmitter is on a three day cycle, so we should receive the next batch of data over the weekend. If the first three days of migration are anything to go by, she should be flying south through Morocco by now. Watch out for an update in the next few days.
By Tim on August 12, 2015
A new book is flying from the book shelves at Egleton and Lyndon this week! Be an Osprey Expert, a new activity book specifically written for children, contains information, activities, and puzzles for children between 6 and 12 years of age; everything they need to become an Osprey expert. Children can use the book when visiting the Ospreys at Rutland Water Nature Reserve or can complete the activities by using this website. When the book is completed readers are awarded an Osprey Expert Certificate.
Written by two of the project’s education team, Jackie Murray and Pete Murray, the book features photographs and artwork by the project’s Field Officer John Wright and photographs by Pete Murray. The children featured as Osprey experts are from Edith Weston primary school in Rutland.
The book is now on sale at the Egleton and Lyndon Visitor Centres, priced at £5. Production of the book was sponsored by The Martin Lawrence Memorial Trust and optics manufacturer Swarovski Optik. All proceeds from the sale of the book will go towards the work of the Rutland Osprey Project.
The book will be officially launched during a special event at this year’s Birdfair at 3:30pm on Sunday 23rd August in the Author’s Forum. Children from Brooke Priory School will be on hand to sing a special song about the Rutland Ospreys.
Be an Osprey Expert joins two other titles written by the Osprey Project team. Ozzie’s Migration by Ken Davies is a story book for Primary school children and follows the migration of an Osprey from Rutland to Africa. The Rutland Water Ospreys by Tim Mackrill is the definitive story of the Rutland Osprey Project documenting the translocation of Ospreys to Rutland and the dedicated experts and volunteers who have made this project such a success.
Posted in Osprey Team Latest
By Tim on August 7, 2015
Over the past couple of day’s we’ve been joined by 15 year-old Toby Carter. He’s written a great blog about his two days with the project…
My name is Toby Carter, I’m 15 years old, and for the last 2 days I’ve been volunteering here at Rutland Water with the Osprey Team. I’ve been interested in nature for over 10 years now. I’ve had some amazing experiences over my time; I’m lucky enough to be a trainee ringer, this is lovely as you get up close to some amazing birds, recently I got to ring my first Green Woodpecker, my group of ringers that day were lucky enough to catch a pair!
On Thursday I headed down to Shallow Water hide in the morning to see what wading birds I could find, I managed to see; Greenshank, 2 Common Sandpipers, 2 Ruff and 3 Black-tailed Godwits in summer plumage. After enjoying those birds I headed over to Waderscrape hide to help the volunteers with the Osprey shift. I’d recently visited and helped out with the Osprey team as part of my work experience, and saw the chicks when they were only 5 weeks old. I can’t believe the difference now they are 12 weeks old!
No sooner had I arrived in the hide than the drama started. S3 was practicing diving into the water, when suddenly she rushed towards the nest and started to mantle; the first time I’d ever seen this kind of behaviour. I looked up and two intruding Ospreys were circling above, one then dive-bombed S3 on the nest; it was spectacular to watch! Mya then came to the rescue and pushed the birds away from the vicinity of the nest and out of view.
On the walk back to the centre, Blackcap, Garden Warbler and Whitethroat were singing in the hedgerows and surrounding trees. At the centre I took control of the live feed and we caught some amazing footage of the chicks; the first piece of footage is 33 bringing in a Perch, and S1 and S3 having a fight over this fish. The fight went on for a minute and a half and was amazing to watch. The second piece of footage was 33 again bringing a small fish, and S3 grabbing the fish of him, then S2 grabbed hold of 33’s talon in his beak and tried to pull him almost off the nest! So S3 was literally pulling dad’s leg! He obviously thought he still had the fish!
I got up really early, and made my way to Shallow Water hide around 7:30am. When I arrived no one else was in the hide, and straight the way there was plenty of Little Egrets, herons and of course Ospreys. The Greenshank was still around as well as Green Sandpipers, Common Sandpipers a Black-tailed Godwit and I got a fleeting glimpse of a Kingfisher; which was a bonus. Then suddenly Mya started calling and I got my scope on the bird and I was surprised to see that a Hobby was dive bombing Mya! This went on for a good five minutes, but it wasn’t until the local Common Terns came along, that the Hobby moved off! This is a memory that I’ll treasure for a while.
On the way to Waderscrape hide, there were more Whitethroats and a pair of Bullfinches in the hedgerows and trees. When I got into the hide, S2 was sitting on the nest, and 33 and the remaining two chicks were in the surrounding area. The Sedge Warblers and the Reed Buntings in front of the hide were making a fuss at something in the undergrowth: we think it was a Grass Snake as Water voles don’t worry the local birds. Apart from that it was very quiet. At the centre more and more people started to arrive in the afternoon. The public loved watching a Whitethroat coming to the bird feeders, and, as I’m writing this, a Spotted Flycatcher has made a brief appearance. With some patience I managed to show the people this lovely bird.
I’ve really enjoyed my 2 days here with the Osprey team, and I doubt this will be my last visit before the Birdfair!
By Tim on August 6, 2015
As we have reported previously on the website, last year we helped Lawrence Ball and Jamie Weston to build photography hides at their two fish farm sites in Rutland. In recent years the local Ospreys had started to have a significant impact on fish stocks. After discussing the problem with us, Lawrence agreed that the best way forward was to take a pro-active approach; to actively encourage the birds to take fish close to purpose-built photography hides. The hides were completed last summer, but they have really come into their own in recent weeks, when up to five different birds have been taking fish. Geoff Harries has sent us a series of stunning photos that show 03(97), 01(09), 28(10) and 33(11) in action at the two sites at Horn Mill and Ryhall (51(11) is the other bird that has visited recently). If you would like further information, or to book a place in the hides, check out the River Gwash Trout Farm website. To see more of Geoff’s brilliant photos, make sure you visit his website too.