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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 Kayleigh Brookes on September 17, 2014
On Sunday 31st August 2014, our satellite-tagged Osprey, 30(05), set off on her long migration south to her wintering grounds in West Africa. Just over eleven days later, she arrived! It took her exactly the same amount of hours as last year (267), and the route she took was almost exactly the same!
In the photograph above you can see the three lines indicating 30’s three tracked journeys to and from Rutland and Senegal. The red line is this year’s migration – autumn 2014. The green line is her autumn migration of last year, 2013. The yellow line is her spring migration back to Rutland in March 2014. Below is a table that shows the total distance 30 travelled on all three of her tracked migrations. They are remarkably similar!
|Autumn 2013 (green line)||Spring 2014 (yellow line)||Autumn 2014 (red line)|
|Total distance travelled (km)||4624||4895||4686|
|Total distance travelled (miles)||2873||3041||2911|
It is incredible how Ospreys know where they are going, and how they stick to a similar route each year. We imagine that they must use significant land marks and remember them to guide them on their way. In reality, we’ll never really know how they do it, it will remain something that we cannot possibly ever fully comprehend. But that doesn’t matter, we don’t need to know everything, what matters is that we can appreciate the intricacies and complex abilities of nature, and feel awed and inspired by them!
30’s autumn migration this year is without doubt an awe-inspiring thing. During her eleven-and-a-bit days of migrating, she travelled a total of 4686km (2911 miles), averaging 424km a day (264 miles), at an average speed of 36kph (22mph). Out of her 267 total hours of migration, she spent 130 hours actually flying, which is just under 50% of her time, and averages at 12.8 hours per day of flying.
The photograph below shows 30′s complete, and incredibly direct, migration to Senegal this autumn.
The table below shows how far 30 travelled each day and at what times, and total hours each day.
|Day||Distance (km)||Distance (miles)||Time migrating||Total hours|
|1||521||324||08:00 – 19:00||11|
|2||508||315||05:00 – 19:00||14|
|3||516||320||05:00 – 18:00||13|
|4||259||161||08:00 – 19:00||11|
|5||413||256||05:00 – 19:00 (1hr resting)||13|
|6||536||333||06:00 – 20:00||14|
|7||354||220||08:00 – 19:00||11|
|8||561||349||07:00 – 17:00||10|
|9||351||218||09:00 – 20:00||11|
|10||165||103||09:00 – 18:00||9|
|11||449||279||09:00 – 20:00||11|
|12||53||33||06:00 – 11:00 (but 2 hours migrating)||2|
Migration is truly mind-blowing, and not fully understanding how it is done just serves to make it even more admirable. Just look at what this 1.9kg bird has accomplished this autumn, in just over a week and a half. It doesn’t get much more amazing than that.
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 Kayleigh Brookes on September 10, 2014
You will all be aware of the drama that occurred in Manton Bay this spring. At the time, it certainly felt like it was never ending!
It all began when Maya’s partner of the past four years, 5R(04), did not return. She was alone for a while without a mate, then she paired up with 28(10). She laid eggs, which was brilliant, he got the hang of incubation fairly quickly, he was fishing regularly, and everything was going well. Then 33(11) turned up and caused chaos. He spent days harassing the nest and chasing 28, until he eventually chased 28 off altogether. Then Maya was left alone to defend the nest and incubate the eggs. She couldn’t do both, so the eggs were left uncovered for prolonged periods. A few days later, 28 returned, there was an aerial battle between the two males, and they both disappeared. The next day it was 28 who was in the Bay, and for the next five days there was no sign of 33, and normal activities resumed. But then 33 came back again, and was relentless in his advances. 28 was chased away again, and eventually Maya stopped fighting 33 and allowed him onto the nest, where he scraped the eggs from the cup. The rest is history, as they say.
We wrote updates every day describing what was happening as it happened. We have now created a video (see below) that tells the whole story - a few weeks of action condensed into five minutes of footage. Some of you may have already seen this movie, as it was shown on a loop at our Birdfair stand. It is a great way of watching the story play out and remembering what happened.
As we have said previously, whilst it wasn’t good news for Manton Bay this year, it has probably worked out for the best in the long run. 33 is a strong, capable male Osprey, and he has had a good practice run this season. Therefore, should he and Maya safely return next year, we will (hopefully) have a successful nest here in 2015. The 2014 season may have ended, but the story of Manton Bay is far from over.
By Kayleigh Brookes on September 8, 2014
This morning dawned bright and fresh – a typical autumn day. I could see my breath in the cool morning air as I walked to my car, which was covered in condensation. The vision that greeted me as I drove over the top of Lyndon Hill was a sight to be savoured. The water was perfectly still, and the trees on Lax Hill, which are just beginning to turn various shades of brown and gold, were reflected in the mirror-like surface of the reservoir. The weak morning sun set off the scene by illuminating the striking colours of the trees, and making the surface of the water sparkle.
The sun’s strength increased throughout the morning, and it turned into a lovely warm day. Another perfect day for setting off on migration. Apparently 33(11) thought so too. He was seen this morning at 08:20, but he has not been seen since. It would therefore appear that he has left us too!
Yesterday, after 51(11) intruded briefly at Manton Bay, he flew off over the hide. The direction of his departure was due south. Therefore, it would seem likely that that was him leaving. This means that 33 was the only Osprey left in Rutland yesterday, and today he has made the decision to leave, as there is no longer a threat to his nest.
Maya has definitely gone, as we thought. We know then, that she left us sometime between 08:30 and 09:00 yesterday morning. We know that Ospreys’ migratory abilities are phenomenal, and based on the data we have received from 30(05)’s satellite transmitter, showing the speed of her progress, it is entirely possible that Maya could already be in France!
So here we are, Osprey-less, at the end of another season. It is weird to think that all the Ospreys have gone, it feels rather desolate. Looking at that live camera, expecting an Osprey to land on it any minute, then remembering that they won’t. Not until next year, that is! The Lyndon Visitor Centre will remain open until Sunday 14th September, and then it will close its doors for the final time this year. The Centre will re-open next spring, on Monday 16th March 2015.
So, will we look back fondly on 33’s time here in Manton Bay this year? To begin with, he didn’t do much to win our affections, what with chasing off 28(10) and erasing any hopes of his eggs hatching, and indeed any eggs hatching in Manton Bay at all. The fallout that followed 33’s arrival was both inevitable and heart-breaking. Suffice to say, he hasn’t been everyone’s favourite Osprey. However, he has won most of us over with his devotion to Maya and the nest over the last few months. His practice run this year should make him an excellent partner for Maya next season.
Next year, 33 must ensure he gets back in time to stop any other Ospreys moving in on his territory in the early spring. This year he arrived back on 13th April, so he will have to do better than that! He had no real pressing reason to arrive back early this year, but now he has a mate and a nest, and a duty to fulfil. So let’s hope he gets here in time!
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 Kayleigh Brookes on September 7, 2014
Yesterday, both Ospreys were in the Bay all day, and they were both there this morning at 08:25. However, when volunteer Anna arrived at Waderscrape Hide at 09:00, there were no Ospreys present. Our first thought was, of course, have they gone? Twenty minutes later though, 33(11) flew into the Bay with an enormous trout, and landed on the leaning perch with it. He hasn’t left yet then! There was still no sign of Maya, however.
At 09:40, 33(11) brought the fish to the nest, and sat with it on the edge. We hovered around the record button in case Maya was on her way, but she wasn’t. After a few minutes, 33 continued to eat the fish himself.
At about 10:20, 33’s behaviour indicated that an intruding Osprey was bothering him, and another Osprey was sighted above the nest. It wasn’t Maya, as he would not have reacted like that to her. We think this Osprey was probably 51(11), as we know he is still in the area. The intruder flew off over the hide, and 33 resumed the very important business of eating.
So we know she was here earlier this morning, but it is looking likely that Maya has left, and 33 is now alone in Manton Bay. Will he be the last Osprey in Rutland? Probably. He won’t leave while there is still a chance another Osprey could nab his nest (namely 51).
Today has been a beautiful day, dry and bright with a north-westerly breeze. A good day to begin a 3,000 mile journey, I would say. Maya has stayed around slightly longer this year than last – in 2013 she migrated on 2nd September. However, the latest she has ever left was the 12th September, so it is not unprecedented for her to still be here this late.
There is a very slight possibility that Maya has not actually gone, and has just been elsewhere all day. As unlikely as that is, we cannot categorically confirm her departure. We will wait and see what the morning brings, whether it be two Ospreys in the Bay, just one, or none at all.