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We’ll be posting regular updates about satellite tracking projects here on the website. You can also track former projects using Google Earth. Check out our step-by-step instructions to find out how. Alternatively, click here to view the Osprey migration route with Google Maps. Google Maps also shows overhead high resolution satellite images, which is handy for finding places along the route.
By Tim on December 5, 2014
Every time I download the latest satellite tracking data from 30(05)’s GPS transmitter it never ceases to amaze me. She’s wintering almost 3000 miles away on the Senegalese coast and yet I can tell you exactly where she roosted last night. Remarkable!
As we have come to expect, the latest batch of GPS fixes show that 30 has remained faithful to the same short section of coastline just south of the fishing village of Tiougoune, midway between Dakar and St Louis. She follows the same daily routine each day; catching a fish soon after first light and then spending most of the day perched on the beach. She then roosts in trees about 100 metres inland. To find out more about here winter home, click here.
Although 30(05) is the only Osprey we’re currently satellite-tracking, we do know where another Rutland bird is spending the winter – and the bird in question happens to be 30′s daughter! Last December Osprey project volunteer Chris Wood was thrilled to see 5F(12) in The Gambia. He identified her at Tanji Marsh, a site that myself and the project team know very well from our trips to Gambia and Senegal. At the time 5F was too young to have returned to the UK, but it was really encouraging to know that she had at made it to Africa.
Given that most young Ospreys first return to the UK at two years of age, we hoped to see 5F at Rutland Water this summer. Although that never happened, I received the exciting news yesterday that she is now back at Tanji Marsh. Chris Wood is in The Gambia again and he’s sent us a series of photos of 5F that he took at the marsh yesterday. This is really exciting news because it suggests that she is now settled at Tanji, just as her mother is on the Senegal coast. Well done, Chris!
It is great to know where one of the Rutland birds is spending the winter, but the fact that 5F has settled at Tanji is particularly significant. The Gambian fishing village is where we initiated the Osprey Flyways Project in 2011 and, as a result, we have strong links with Tanji Lower Basic School. We have recently installed a suit of computers in the school thanks to funding from Melton Mowbrary Rotary club and the school have even named one of their football teams ‘the Ospreys’!
The computers will allow children at Tanji to participate in World Osprey Week in March – and now that we know there is a Rutland Osprey within a short walk from the school, that takes on even more significance. Exciting times indeed!
We are always looking for ways to raise money for the Osprey Flyways Project and, with this in mind, I’m joining a team from IEPUK to run the Stamford Santa Fun Run. This involves running 5km dressed as Santa! If you would like to sponsor us, you can do so here. Any money raised will go towards our work in Gambia.Thanks to George Peach and IEPUK for their continued support of the project.
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 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 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
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 Kayleigh Brookes on September 2, 2014
Time always goes by faster than we realise, and recently autumn has been creeping up on us. I love autumn –bright, cold days, a fresh nip in the air, and particularly the beauty of the changing colours of the trees. The only thing I dislike about autumn is that the Ospreys leave! It is always a shame to see them go, they fill up such a large part of our lives during the season, and there is an empty feeling at the end of it when they depart for their wintering grounds in West Africa.
It is good though, to know that we have had another successful season, and to see the fit, healthy birds beginning their migrations south, especially the youngsters, who have not made this journey before. Due to this, there is inevitably a little apprehension on our part, hoping that all the juveniles make it! We worry about the adults, too. It can often be taken for granted that the adult birds will return year upon year, and this is commonly the case. However, the failure of 5R(04) to return this year came as a heavy reality-check for us all. 03(97) has reliably returned to Rutland every year since 1999. However, this year we will also worry about him, as his injury this season has made us realise that even he is not invincible.
It is with a heavy heart, then, that we wave goodbye to the birds that have been a hugely important aspect of our lives for six months. The Ospreys don’t care, though. They do not lament leaving. Migration is a necessary element of an Osprey’s life, they do it every year. Even juveniles know that they must go; their instinct dictates it and they follow that feeling. It is only us humans who make it sad! There is no denying, though, that the absence of Ospreys leaves a void that cannot be filled until next March, when they (hopefully!) all return.
However, we must not dwell on the prospects of an empty winter, but look back at what a successful season 2014 has been! Even though the Manton Bay nest failed to produce chicks this year, we still had five pairs who successfully fledged eleven chicks between them. We also had seven non-breeding birds in the area (not including Maya and 33), so we hope that at least some of these birds find a nest site and attract mates next season.
One of these non-breeders is female Osprey 30(05). Because she is satellite-tracked, she is a well-known Osprey and has attracted many enthusiastic followers. She raised eight chicks in the four years she bred (2009-2012), one of which is 51(11), another non-breeding bird. Unfortunately for 30(05), she has not bred for the past two years, ever since her partner, 08(01), failed to return in 2013. She was seen with male Osprey 06(09) earlier this season, a male who has not bred before, and they did lay eggs together. However, this male was also seen at another nest with another female, 00(09), and also had eggs with her. This was a completely new situation that we had never witnessed before – one male with two females. How could he possibly sustain two nests and two broods of chicks?
The answer was he couldn’t. He had to make a decision regarding which nest he was going to be faithful to, and he favoured the nest with 00(09). This meant that 30(05)’s clutch failed, and she began to wander away from her nest. It also meant that we had a new nest with a new pairing, neither of whom had bred before (more information below).
Despite 30(05)’s failure to breed successfully, and the troubles in Manton Bay, we still have many reasons to celebrate. Eleven chicks is a brilliant number, and to have five nests again was a pleasant surprise. You will all know about Site B, with good old 03(97) and his super female raising two healthy chicks.
The two four-year-olds, 25(10) and 11(10), at Site C raised two lovely chicks, 8K and 9K, one male and one female.
At Site N, 5N(04) raised three chicks for the first time – since she first bred in 2007 she has only ever raised two. We thought this was something to do with her biology – she would always lay three eggs, but only two would ever hatch. However this year, all three did! All of her brood were females, and their ring numbers were CJ0, CJ1 and CJ2.
03(09) and the metal-ringed female at Site O raised three chicks again this year, a male and two females – CJ3, CJ4 and CJ5. Sadly, the male chick, CJ3, disappeared shortly after fledging, and we do not know what happened to him.
The fifth nest is somewhere new, which we’ll call Site L. This is a new pairing between two birds who have not bred before. 00(09) is a female from Site B, who has returned to Rutland before but never settled. The male, 06(09), fledged from Site O in the same year. He is the son of the metal-ringed female and 06(00), who was a translocated bird from 2000. 06(00) was one of the two birds who disappeared suspiciously in 2010, after having only bred once. 06(09) spent part of this spring incubating two clutches of eggs and feeding two females, until he chose 00(09) over 30(05). 00(09) and 06(09) raised one chick, a female – CJ6.
To have a new nest is fantastic, and demonstrates the on-going success of the Osprey Project. So yes, it has been a great year, and next year could be even better!
By Kayleigh Brookes on June 8, 2014
It has been a lovely day today! The sun was out, the sky was blue, and the Ospreys were present in the Bay nearly all day. Not just the Manton Bay pair either, there was another visitor to the nest this morning – 30(05)! This female Osprey has visited this nest about three times already this season. She has not bred this year unfortunately, so she is floating around exploring other nest sites. She obviously likes this one!
Maya and 33(11) were absent from the Bay at the time 30(05) landed on the nest, they had been seen flying off together earlier on. 30(05) therefore was able to sit quite contentedly on the nest for about half an hour. When the Manton Bay pair did return however, they were not impressed to find her on their nest, and chased her away without hesitation.
In the video and photographs below you can see the aerial of her satellite transmitter, and just about read the number 30 on her rather dirty leg ring.
Maya and 33(11) have not left the Bay since returning this morning to find an intruder on their nest. They have been perched nearby keeping an eye on things, making sure 30(05) does not come back! They shared a fish early this morning, so fishing was not a great priority for most of the day, though 33(11) caught one later (see below). The pair were seen on the nest several times, and we witnessed a successful copulation, as you’ll see in the video below.
Here is a video from yesterday evening, when another mating attempt didn’t quite go to plan! Maya did not seem interested in mating at all, and snapped at 33(11) a few times.
Luckily for 33(11), today Maya was more amenable! As I said previously, it is now certainly too late for any good to come of these mating attempts this year. However, all this mating is good practise for next season, and it also helps to cement the bond between the Osprey pair, which seems very strong.
Later this afternoon, 33(11) lazily dropped off his perch and plucked a fish out of the still waters of Manton Bay! He took it away to a perch to eat his half. At about five o’clock, just as we were preparing to close the Centre, we saw Maya food begging on the nest, then 33(11) dropped onto it with the remainder of the fish, which Maya then took away to finish.
By Kayleigh Brookes on May 20, 2014
What an exciting day! We had another visitor to the nest this morning, and it was not a goose! It was another Osprey, 30(05), our satellite-tagged female! We saw 33(11) mantling on the nest, then all of a sudden there were three Ospreys, 30(05) had actually landed on the nest alongside the Manton Bay pair!
For a while they all just sat there on the nest together, Maya and 33(11) were mantling away and 30(05) was standing about unconcerned. Then 33(11) took off and landed on the camera perch, and Maya had a couple of tries to get 30(05) off the nest. She almost landed on top of her a few times, gave her a bit of a push, and she even kicked her in the face at one point!
We were all quite surprised that 30(05) managed to land on the nest at all, especially now that it is occupied by two Ospreys. However, lots of other Ospreys intruded at the Manton Bay nest when it was just Maya around, and many of them landed on the nest. In fact, 30(05) was one of them! Eventually, as with the other intruders earlier in the season, 30(05) got the message and decided to leave the party.
30(05) bred at Site K from 2009 – 2012. Last year her partner did not return, so she did not breed. This year, she spent some time with male Osprey 06(09) at the beginning of the season. However, they are not breeding, and so 30(05) is wandering further away from her nest site and evidently intruding at other nests! This means we may see her around Manton Bay more often!
In other news, 33(11) got a successful mating attempt in this morning! He’s getting better all the time. With all of his nest building, fish bringing, incubation (of nothing) and mating practise he will be a super-male next season!