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Osprey Team Latest
By Tim on March 26, 2015
We’re still waiting for the next Osprey arrival at Rutland Water, but in the meantime it is exciting to see several of the World Osprey Week Ospreys getting closer to home.
Belle - one of the American birds – has just made it to Florida. The latest satellite data shows that she completed a 270km sea crossing from Cuba in just over six hours yesterday afternoon.
Meanwhile, over the other side of the Atlantic, another of the WOW Ospreys has just completed a crossing of a different kind. The latest satellite data downloaded by Pertti Saurola shows that Helena – one of the Finnish birds that we are following – is in Tunisia having successfully crossed the Sahara. Helena is fitted with a GSM satellite transmitter that sends data via the mobile phone network. Unfortunately Helena wintered in a mobile phone ‘black spot’ and so Pertti is still waiting for the data that was collected over the winter months to come through. It is exciting that she is on her way home though – she is the first of the Finnish birds to set-off.
We should have more news on the other WOW birds tomorrow. Will 30 have beaten the bad weather and reached France? Will Donovan still be in Georgia? Check back tomorrow for an update.
In the meantime, you can check the latest locations that we have for all the WOW birds on our interactive map. You’ll see that four of them still haven’t set-off on their spring migration. It will be interesting to see when they finally get going!
By Tim on March 25, 2015
We’re now over half way through World Osprey Week and it is great to hear how schools all round the world are getting excited about Ospreys. One of the key objective of the week is to encourage schools in different parts of the Ospreys’ migratory flyways to contact each other. We think this is a great way for students to learn about other countries and cultures. An excellent example of this is a collaborative project between Zespół Szkół in Poland and Gvanim Middle School in Israel. The two schools have been working together since January. Regular Skype calls have enabled the students to develop friendships and to learn together. At the moment they are working on a joint project to learn more about Ospreys. They have divided into groups of four – a pair from Israel and a pair from Poland – in order to answer specific questions about Osprey migration. What a great way to learn! Thanks to teachers Ronit and Julita for keeping us posted with their progress.
Earlier this week Professor Yossi Leshem – one of the world’s leading experts on bird migration – organised a WOW lecture day for 100 Israeli schools. Yossi hopes that this will encourage many of them to sign up for WOW and to follow the example set by Gvanim and Zespół schools. Over the years Yossi has done a great deal to link people through bird migration. Of particular note was the Migrating Birds Know No Boundaries project which linked students at schools in Israel, Palestine and Jordan despite all the political problems in the region. It is great to have Yossi’s support for WOW!
Closer to home, we were also delighted to hear from Victoria Adams at Blessed Edward Oldcorne Catholic College in Worcester. Victoria got in touch to say that class 7B2 have been using resources from the website and have also been keeping a close eye on the webcam, hoping to see an Osprey return.
We think that WOW – and Ospreys in general – provide an innovative and exciting teaching opportunity. If you’re a teacher and would like to find out more why not book onto the teacher training day that we’re running in July. Click here for more information.
By Kayleigh Brookes on March 25, 2015
As Tim mentioned in yesterday’s update, another Osprey has returned to Rutland! 03(97)’s mate has now joined him at Site B, four days later than last season. This female has been breeding with 03 since 2009, and they have raised 14 chicks together. It’s fantastic that she is back! Here are a couple of photographs John Wright took of her at her nest.
John also captured a video of 03(97) and his mate getting re-acquainted at their nest yesterday!
By Kayleigh Brookes on March 25, 2015
30(05) continues to make fairly slow progress through Spain. She has only travelled a total of about 223 km (140 miles) in two days (Monday and Tuesday). Her route can be seen on the map below.
As you can see, 30 was making her way northwards, then suddenly doubled back and began heading south/south-east. She was forced to re-think her movements due to bad weather along the route she was on. Our friend Xarles Cepeda, from the Urdaibai Bird Centre, sent us the following update on the weather in that region:
“I have followed the path of the Osprey and the u-turn back that she did yesterday can be for the heavy rain that we had here. I think that today she will advance a lot of kilometres because the weather has got better at mid-morning. We have a sunny day at last! We will be hoping for her.”
At her northernmost point, 30 was only 40 miles from Urdaibai when she turned back.
30 spent yesterday afternoon at a reservoir called Embalse de Gonzalez Lacasa. Perhaps she had seen this as she flew north and decided to head there for respite from the weather. She went fishing in the reservoir, then roosted on its shore last night.
We hope that the weather improves soon and enables 30 to make more significant progress.
By Tim on March 24, 2015
Today is the second day of World Osprey Week and although we’re still waiting for the first Osprey to arrive at the Manton Bay nest, we did have one new arrival today – 03(97)’s mate returned to the Site B nest. We’ll have more on that exciting news, including some photos, tomorrow.
Although we’re still waiting for new data to come in from 30(05), we have an update on two of the American WOW birds. Ian MacLeod from the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center reports that Donovan is taking a little break in southern Georgia. He left the coast of Florida a little after 10am on the 21st and headed north and by 3pm had traveled 117km over the border into Georgia and had settled on a small pond just east of Spence Airport near Moultrie in Colquitt County. He has been there ever since. He did the same thing last year – found a little rural pond and rested for a couple days. He’s now about 1,700km (1,078 miles) for his nest. Iain stopped by his nest yesterday and it is in great shape after the winter . . . but it’s still very wintry there (as you can see in the photo below!). Belle, meanwhile is making her way through Cuba. You can see the latest position of both birds on our interactive WOW map.
Back at Rutland Water we now have a second view of the Manton Bay nest on the webcam page. The second camera is not such good quality as the main nest camera (and also doesn’t have IR for night viewing) but we think it provides a lovely view of Manton Bay. Click here to see what you think…
Aside from the satellite tracking data and webcam, we have a series of teaching resources that are free for all participating WOW schools to download. There are now 43 different lesson plans – covering all subjects – for both primary and secondary schools. The latest lesson plans, written by Jackie and Pete Murray, include activities based around food chains and webs for Science; ‘Multicultural Ospreys’ which could be used for History, Social Science, General Studies or Religious Studies; and even a food science lesson. To see a full list of the teaching resources, click here. Basically there is a lesson plan for just about any subject! To sign your school up for World Osprey Week – giving you free access to these fantastic resources - click here. You can click on the thumbnail images below for a small sample of the materials on offer.
Later this week four schools (from UK, Spain, Italy and Gambia) are getting together for a Skype conference call so that they can talk about the work they’ve been doing for WOW. Myself and Iain MacLeod will also be taking part and, thanks to the Urdaibai Bird Center, we’ll be broadcasting the Skype call live on the website. To watch it, simply visit this page.
By Kayleigh Brookes on March 23, 2015
We’ve had another good day at Lyndon today, but still no Osprey in Manton Bay! However, whilst we might be getting impatient looking at an empty nest all day, it’s worth remembering that it’s still early in the season, and a lot of Ospreys will still be on their way. Also, the weather has been quite bad recently over the continent, which is slowing down our satellite-tagged female, 30(05), and so is very likely to be slowing down other Ospreys aswell.
Due to the fact that the Manton Bay female, Maya, arrived back on 17th March last year, we’ve all been expecting her for a few days now. We are aware, though, that she does not always stick to a certain day, and in the past her arrival dates have ranged from 21st March to as late as 1st April. It doesn’t stop us hoping she’ll be back soon though!
We also hope that 33(11) will return earlier this year than 13th April, which was the date he returned last season. Last year, though, he did not have a territory of his own, so was in no rush. This year should be different, as he now has a territory and a mate, which should motivate him to come back sooner!
Although we still await the birds in Manton Bay, some of our other Ospreys have been steadily returning. Since 03(97) came home on 17th March, three other Ospreys have returned to Rutland. They are 5N(04), 25(10) and 00(09) – three females who all bred here last year on nests on private land.
Fingers crossed for more birds returning over the coming days!
By Kayleigh Brookes on March 23, 2015
It’s the first day of World Osprey Week! 30(05) graced us with her return on the first day of WOW last year (which was 24th March). However, this year she is going to make us wait a little longer!
We didn’t know what to expect 30(05)’s position to be today, after previous data showed that she had travelled 1,000km (621 miles) in two days, and on Saturday she travelled a further 327km (203 miles). As she was making such good progress, it was possible that by yesterday evening she could have already been in Southern France.
However, as of this morning, 30(05) is still in Spain. Yesterday she travelled only 240km (149 miles).
We took a look at the weather maps and the reason for 30′s slow progress is due to bad weather over Spain, in particular heavy rain. As you can see from the maps below, the forecast is not good today, or tomorrow, which means that she is unlikely to make significant progress until later in the week, when the forecast looks better.
Yesterday 30 set out just after 6am and headed north. After about 115km (70 miles), she turned sharply eastwards instead of continuing on the heading she was on. This is good news because, had she continued to travel due north, she would have had to cross the Bay of Biscay. As it was she flew quite sedately eastwards at a speed of about 20kph (12mph) and came to roost 121km (75 miles) north of Madrid.
30 roosted near a large reservoir called Embalse de Linares del Arroyo. She arrived there at 4pm yesterday, and there she stayed for the rest of the afternoon, probably fishing and seeing out the bad weather. She roosted just west of Maderuelo.
That’s the latest position we have for 30, but we hope to have more information from her satellite tracker soon. We will keep you updated as to her progress, and that of the other WOW Ospreys, when we receive the data.
By Kayleigh Brookes on March 23, 2015
We also have a wonderful video of 03(97) fishing to share with you!
This video was filmed at the Horn Mill Trout Farm by Geoff Harries.
Many thanks to Geoff for sharing this video.
By Kayleigh Brookes on March 23, 2015
Like last year, this season 03(97) has been frequently fishing at Horn Mill Trout Farm ever since his return to Rutland. Tim visited just the other day, and was treated to magnificent views of 03 fishing!
The photography hide is now open for bookings for 2015, and has already had a good deal of interest.
You may remember that last season, photographer Geoff Harries took several superb photographs of 03(97) from this hide.
Here are some more excellent photographs taken recently of 03(97) by Geoff Harries.
Bookings are now being taken at the Trout Farm for 2015. For more details of timings and prices and to book your place visit River Gwash Trout Farm’s website by clicking here.
By Tim on March 22, 2015
Today is the first day of World Osprey Week (WOW for short). WOW is a really exciting opportunity for schools around the world to follow Ospreys on their spring migration and to make links with other schools on the migratory flyway. It is all totally free: signing up gives you access to a range of lesson plans and ideas to help you get the most from the week. So don’t delay, sign your school up now!
This year we’re following nine satellite-tagged Ospreys from Europe and America on their spring migration and four of them have now set off on their journey home. We’re hoping the other birds – four from Finland and one from America – will set-off on their long journey this week. You can check out the latest locations of all the birds on our interactive map which also shows the locations of participating schools.
Of the four birds which are currently on the move, our own satellite-tagged Osprey from Rutland Water – 30(05) - is closest to home. The latest data shows that last night she roosted in central Spain, 122km west of Madrid.
The previous batch of data had shown that 30 was in northern Morocco on Friday morning. We now know that she left her roost site at 9am and headed north-west. By 1pm she had flown 114km and was just south of the coast at Tangier. She headed powerfully out to sea and maintained a northerly heading for 55km across until she reached the Spanish coast south of Cadiz.
Once in European airspace 30 continued to make good progress. She passed just to the east of Cadiz at 3pm and then continued north towards Seville. She finally settled to roost at 7pm 25km north-east of the city. Her roost site was a good one – a dead tree in the middle of a small lake – after a day’s flight of 330km.
Yesterday morning 30 began migrating again shortly after 7am, initially heading north-east. At 9am she made a distinct change of direction and flew to Embalse del Pintado. She must have caught a fish because at 10am she was perched beside the large reservoir, presumably eating her breakfast.
Ospreys will sometimes migrate whilst carrying a partly-eaten fish and that may well be what 30 did next because at 11am she 18km north-east, flying purposefully northwards at 32kph. She continued on the same north-north-east heading for the rest of the day, flying at relatively low altitudes (generally less that 500m above ground level) as she passed through Extremadura. She eventually settled to roost for the night in an area of forest in the southern part of the Castile and Leon region after a day’s flight of 327km – almost exactly the same as the previous day. If she continued to make such good progress she should reach southern France by this evening.
Much further south, a Scottish satellite-tagged Osprey, Blue XD, set-off from his wintering site in Senegal on Wednesday and will now be heading across the Sahara. Roy Dennis, who tagged Blue XD, takes up the story…
Blue XD left his Casamanache wintering site in Senegal at 1040am on 18th March and on Friday flew across northern Senegal into Mauritania. His tracks in the afternoon crossing the Senegal/Mauritania border were superb. With the new GSM transmitters we get information every minute in full sunshine and the photo below is a shot of his track from GoogleEarth, looking along the earth so that you can see the altitude of each point as well. It shows really well the thermal climb and glide migration of an Osprey over the land. In this picture his lowest point after crossing the border (yellow line) was 224 metres above sea level (the land there is about 70 metres above sea level) while his highest point of his climb was 2172 metres (7125 feet) before the long glide north. It’s absolutely fascinating that we can now see how they make the migration over the Sahara.
Over the other side of the Atlantic another of the WOW Ospreys is also making good progress. Iain MacLeod from the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center has sent the latest update…
Just like last year, Donovan tried to avoid Florida (!). He spent a couple days on the outskirts of Havana, but moved further west another 100km on the afternoon of the 19th. He stopped off on a lovely little river just south-west of the town of Honda where he spent the night. He was still there at 10am on 20th, but by 11am was 30km to the north over open water, 480m up and cruising at 27kph. There must be something at the immigration and customs offices in southern Florida he doesn’t like as he did exactly what he did last spring and went directly from western Cuba to the pan-handle. His last GPS point of this upload showed him making steady progress through the night. His most recent non-GPS, Doppler points from 8am on the 21st shows that he completed to near 500 mile (790km) over water crossing and was safely back in the U.S. He is two days ahead of last year. You can see that his flight timing was very similar – leaving Cuba between 10 and 11am and making steady progress through the night. Last year it took him just 12 days to get from the Gulf coast to his nest. Take your time Donovan . . . it’s snowing again in New Hampshire!
Belle, meanwhile, is also making good progress. Having reached the northern tip of Colombia on 18th March she set-out across the Caribbean Sea at 3pm. The flight across the open ocean is a long and demanding one and she finally reached Haiti 22 hours later after a 700km non-stop flight. You would think a rest would be in order, but by the afternoon of 20th March she had already made the short hop across to Cuba. Thanks to Rob Bierregaard for the latest update on Belle.
The four remaining WOW Ospreys - four from Finland and one from America – are still at their wintering sites, but we expect each of them to begin their northward journeys in the next few days. To find out more about each of the birds and where they’ve spent the winter you can meet the WOW Ospreys here.