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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 Kayleigh Brookes on March 29, 2015
30(05) is still in France! Since she roosted near the River Charente on 26th March, she has only travelled 209km (130 miles). On 27th March she left her roost site just after 8am and flew across the city of Saintes. She then headed north-east, travelling at speeds of about 30kph (18mph), until she reached the town of Le Chardonnet, where she roosted that night, having travelled roughly 139km (86 miles). The next day, 28th March, she set off at about 7am and, at speeds of 17kph (10mph), she continued north-east for a further 68km (42 miles), then settled down to roost again.
This shows us that 30′s path is still not trouble-free, and she is struggling to make any significant progress. The reason for this is similar to the problems she met in Spain – rain. As you can see from the map below, the weather on the northern coast of France looks bad for today, so perhaps she will remain where she is for the time being, and continue when the weather improves.
The conditions look a little bit better on Monday, so hopefully 30 will be able to make more progress northwards. She has another 565km (350 miles) to go to reach Rutland. The weather has really affected the speed of her return this year – she is already a week behind the time it took her to get home last spring, which was an amazing eleven days! We are looking forward to her arrival in the next couple of days.
Don’t forget that you can view the latest positions of all of the World Osprey Week birds on our interactive map!
By Tim on March 27, 2015
If you were watching the webcam earlier then, for the first time this season, you may have glimpsed an Osprey. The bird in question was 5N(04) who alighted on the nest briefly before being chased off by an Egyptian Goose. 5N has a nest of her own but, with her mate still not back, she was obviously having a look around. It did however cause a brief surge of excitement in the Lyndon Visitor Centre!
A look at the weather maps in Europe shows that we shouldn’t be too worried that Maya still isn’t back at the Manton Bay nest. France and Spain have been very wet over the past few days and it will certainly have held many Ospreys – and other summer migrants – up as they head north. One of the birds that we know has been delayed - she is now several days later than last year – is 30(05). The latest satellite data shows that at 14:00 this afternoon she was flying north through the western part of France, 100km north-east of La Rochelle.
Although we are still waiting for some data to come through, we now know that she crossed the border from Spain into France on Wednesday afternoon. That evening she roosted beside a small lake, 13km east of the town of Dax, after a day’s flight of 221km from the La Rioja region of Spain. As in previous migrations she passed well to the east of our friends at the Urdaibai Bird Center in the Basque Country.
Over the course of the past two days 30 has made slow but steady progress along the west coast of France; roosting to the north of Bordeaux on Thursday evening and then continuing north past La Rochelle today. Quite when she makes it back to the UK depends on the weather over the next few days. The forecast looks very unsettled and so it may be that she will not arrive back in Rutland until Monday or Tuesday next week. We should get another update from her transmitter over the weekend – so watch this space!
Much further south, another Osprey from the UK is also heading north. Roy Dennis has just received the latest data from Blue XD’s transmitter and it shows that the Scottish Osprey has made it across the Sahara. The track below is from 16:13 to 17:42 this afternoon when he covered 65 km north-north-east. The data for the last 5 days will be slowly downloaded through the system (Blue XD has a GSM transmitter) and this will show his route over the Sahara Desert. He now has the Atlas Mountains in his sights. Thanks to Roy for the update.
This year we’re following four Finnish Ospreys as part of World Osprey Week, but to date, only one has begun its spring migration. Pertti Saurola has sent an update on the latest locations of the four birds.
Our monitoring of Ilpo’s autumn migration ended on 13 October according to the entry written on the 15th, when Ilpo was “only 28 km from the tri-state boundary between Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, and Guinea.” After that, Ilpo continued his migration outside the coverage of the mobile network, and left us totally in the dark until the 26 February, 2015. After a wait of four and a half months, we received news of Ilpo, including fixes from the last three days, but a huge information gap between 13 October and 24 February. However, the following data packets contained back-dated information for a few days at a time, besides the new information, so the information gap was gradually filled. It was not until 15 March, 2015, that we found out how Ilpo had continued his migration from the 14 October, 2014.
Ilpo flew straight southwest on the 14th and spent his night at the banks of the river Geba, that flows through Guinea-Bissau. During the next day, Ilpo made it into Guinea and spent the night at the maze-like delta of River Kogon, whence he continued some 130 kilometres along the coastline on the 16th, and stopped for the next night at the delta of another river running into the Atlantic. Ilpo ended his autumn migration at the delta of River Konkouré, some 75 km from the capital of Guinea, Conakry.
During the winter, Ilpo’s fishing expeditions have taken him some 25 km inland along the Konkouré, as well as a few kilometres out to sea. When this is being written (24 March), Ilpo is still at his winter range.
The data on Helena’s autumn migration ended on 9 October, 2014, in Ghana, near the border to Togo. It is obvious that Helena has moved out of range of the mobile network. After a long wait, we received an email about Helena on 24 March, 2015, telling us that Helena had spent the night between 23 and 24 March in southern Algiers, in the middle of Sahara! In other words, Helena had set out on her spring migration from her wintering range that was outside the mobile network, and had flown far into Sahara, keeping out of range all the time! Based on our experience with Ilpo’s transmitter, we may expect that the fixes on Helena’s autumn migration, winter range, and spring migration will arrive gradually. For Ilpo, this process took 17 days. The following email (25 March) specified that Helena had already entered Tunisia and was only a hundred kilometres from the Mediterranean coast.
Over the other side of the Atlantic, Donovan – one of the American birds we’re following as part of World Osprey Week – has resumed his migration after a short break in Georgia. Iain MacLeod has sent the latest data which shows that yesterday morning he was flying purposefully north-east towards South Carolina.
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
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 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.
By Tim on March 20, 2015
After a slow start to her migration, the latest satellite data shows that in the last two days 30 has made much better progress and now has Europe firmly in her sights. Non-GPS locations showed that last night she roosted on a wooded hillside close to the village of Douar Aghrame, just 70 miles south of the Strait of Gibraltar.
Having roosted close to Western Sahara-Mauritania border on the night of 17th March, 30 resumed her migration shortly before 9am. Not long afterwards she crossed the border into neighbouring Algeria. By 1pm she had covered 158 kilometres and was flying north at an altitude of 550 metres at 39kph. She was now clearly determined to make up for lost time. By 6pm she had covered a further 230 kilometres, but she showed no signs of letting up. She headed powerfully over the Anti-Atlas Mountains and at 10pm was at an altitude of 270 metres. Conditions must have been good for migration because she continued flying until after midnight, not settling to roost until the very early hours of 19th March after a day’s flight of a staggering 740 kilometres.
The Sahara may have been behind her, but yesterday morning 30 had to tackle the high peaks of the Atlas Mountains. She set-off at first light and by 7am had already flown 26 kilometres north. After a brief rest at 8am – perhaps waiting for the weather to clear – she approached the highest peaks shortly after 9am. The hour-by-hour data does not show her exact path through the mountains but she is likely to have flown through a mountain pass near the village of Tighermin to avoid the high peaks of over 3500 metres.
By 10am she was clear of the mountains and she continued to make steady progress north for the rest of the day, passing Fes at 2:30pm. Unlike the previous day she flew only until dark, before settling to roost on the forested hillside near Douar Aghrame having covered 333 kilometres during the day.
As the map below shows, 30′s route over the past three days has taken her much further east than previous migrations. Westerly winds are the most likely explanation, but now she is in northern Morocco she is well and truly back on track.
30 now has Europe firmly in her sights, but the weather forecast for the Strait of Gibraltar is for rain today. It may be that she will need to spend an extra day in Africa. We’ll have to wait and see.
To see the latest location of 30 – and also the other Ospreys we’re following as part of World Osprey Week, check out our interactive map.
By Tim on March 18, 2015
Of the nine satellite-tagged Ospreys that we’re following as part of this year’s World Osprey Week, three of them have already set-off on their spring migration. Earlier today Kayleigh reported on the steady progress of 30 across the Sahara and we now have an update on two of the American birds from Iain MacLeod. He takes up the story…
Donovan has arrived on the outskirts of Havana, Cuba…exactly where he went last year. This is a little unusual for our Ospreys. Most make the short hop over to Florida from further east in Cuba, but last year Donovan spent a few days around Havana and then made a 490 overwater flight over the eastern side of the Gulf of Mexico and nearly missed Florida all together. Why? . . . we don’t know. We’ll see if Donovan does the same again this year.
Belle, meanwhile, is now just a day away from the northern coast of Venezuela having already covered 1400 miles from her wintering site in Brazil.
Thanks to Iain for the update. Don’t forget that you can check out the current locations of all the WOW Ospreys on our interactive map.
By Kayleigh Brookes on March 18, 2015
30(05) continues to wing her way northwards, on a long journey that will lead her back to the place she calls home. Thankfully she managed to right her course after being blown too far west. As of yesterday afternoon, she is still in the Western Sahara, making her way towards Morocco.
On 15th March 30 travelled 210km (130 miles), and the next day she travelled a further 301km (187 miles). This shows us that she isn’t making progress particularly quickly. Yesterday, her average speed was 21kph (13mph). However, she has had to contend with a bit of a headwind, as there have been some strong north-easterly winds which she is having to battle her way through.
Consequently, she is slightly behind where she was on this day last Spring. However, it’s not a race and she knows perfectly well what she is doing. This is 30′s 9th migration north! As long as she gets back safely it does not matter how long it takes her to do it.
We should receive more data from 30′s tracker tomorrow, and we will keep you updated with her progress. We will also update you with news of the migrations of the other WOW Ospreys soon!
To sign your school up to World Osprey Week click here.
By Kayleigh Brookes on March 16, 2015
Great news – our satellite-tagged female, 30(05), is now officially on her way home! We have been waiting impatiently over the last few days to find out where she is – during the winter the tracker only sends us data every five days. This morning we received what we had been waiting for: the excellent news that she is on her way. And over on the other side of Atlantic two other Ospreys that we’re following as part of World Osprey Week have also set-off.
30 began her journey on Tuesday 10th March, leaving the idyllic coastal site in Senegal where she has spent the winter months, and set off resolutely homewards! She passed to the west of the large Lac de Guiers, then crossed the Senegal river in the afternoon. Landmarks such as these are important in an Osprey’s migration, as studies have shown that they use them to navigate.
She flew quite late into the evening, then roosted just north of the Senegal river. In her first day of migration, 30 travelled a total of 226km (140 miles). Day two took her into the desert of Mauritania, where she flew for 269km (167 miles) to a roost site. The next two days she continued through the Sahara, travelling 406km (252 miles).
Her direction of flight had shifted slightly north-west, and the next day’s data gave us a scare when it showed she was much further west than we would have anticipated. The wind must have been blowing strongly from the east and pushed her off-course. Luckily her data points show that she has turned back to the east and is now getting back on track.
The last data point we have for 30 was yesterday morning at 10am. During the four days of migration she has already undertaken, she has covered a distance of 901km (560 miles), averaging 225km (140 miles) per day. At the moment she is travelling at quite a leisurely pace, flying at an average speed of 26kph (16mph).
We should receive more data tomorrow or the next day – it will be interesting to know where she is!
Meanwhile, over the other side of the Atlantic two of the WOW Ospreys have also set off on their northward migration. Belle, who spent her winter in Brazil on the edge of the Amazon Rainforest, was the first of the birds to set-off, on 8th March – six days earlier than last spring. Since then Rob Bierregaard reports that she has made steady progress and by 14th March she had reached the southern part of Venezuela. A little further north, Donovan has already reached Cuba. Iain MacLeod from the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center takes up the story…
After hanging out for a couple of days in northern Venezuela, Donovan headed over to Aruba and started his crossing over to Haiti during the late afternoon of March 12. He reached Haiti at 10am on March 13 and didn’t even stop to roost or feed. He kept on moving throughout the next day. At 6pm on the 13th he was still moving (26kph) and about to cross the Great Antilles Ridge over to Cuba. His first point on the 14th (at 6am) was on Cuba. I suspect he flew through the night again before finally stopping to roost. Since leaving Venezuela he had flown 1,300 km in one nonstop flight in 36 hours. Pretty impressive.
A close look at the data shows that he is following very closely to his schedule of last year. He left Aruba shortly before 5pm on March 12. Last year he left Aruba on the same date just before 3pm (now that’s planning). Once he reached Haiti, he quickly picked up the same path over to and through Cuba.