Satellite Tracking

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.

Fantastic photos of 30(05)

We have all seen the amazing photographs taken of 03(97) at Horn Mill Trout Farm this season; and he continues to delight photographers in the hide by fishing there every day. But it’s not only Horn Mill that the Ospreys use. Here are some amazing photos of female Osprey 30(05) fishing at Ryhall, the sister site of Horn Mill. These photographs were taken earlier this week, by Geoff Harries. Many thanks to Geoff for sharing them with us. 30 will to continue to fish for herself until she settles at a nest and two other birds – 01(09) and 28(10) are also currently fishing at Ryhall on a daily basis. For more details of timings and prices and to book your place in the hides visit River Gwash Trout Farm’s website by clicking here.

Osprey 30 launches off Osprey diving with claws ready Osprey 30 with fish Osprey in the spray Osprey 30 taking fishOsprey 30 leaves with fish

WOW latest

It has been an incredibly exciting week at Rutland Water with the return of satellite-tagged Osprey 30(05) on 2nd April and then the arrival of 33(11) and Maya to the Manton Bay nest on Easter Monday. It is always a thrilling moment when an Osprey returns to its nest in the spring and our excitement has been mirrored at other Osprey sites both in the UK and further a field.

30(05) looking up at a Red Kite shortly after arriving back at Rutland Water

30(05) shortly after arriving back at Rutland Water

If you take a look at the World Osprey Week map you’ll see that 30 isn’t the only one of the WOW Ospreys to have made it home. Over the other side of the Atlantic Donovan and Belle have both completed their spring migrations; from Venezuela and Brazil respectively. Donovan made it back to his nest in New Hampshire at 4pm on Thursday afternoon – just a few hours after 30 had arrived at Rutland Water. Unlike Rutland – which has been warm and sunny in recent days – New Hampshire is still in the grips of winter and, since his return, Donovan has had to go on 100 mile round trips for fish. You can read more on the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center website.

Donovan 040515asmall

Iain MacLeod took this photo of Donovan and his mate on Thursday. As Iain points out, as soon as Donovan and his mate reunite at the nest, they start the process of making baby Ospreys!

Iain MacLeod took this photo of Donovan and his mate on Thursday. As Iain points out, as soon as Donovan and his mate reunite at the nest, they start the process of making baby Ospreys!

Belle, meanwhile, is now back at Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts after a migration of more than 4500 miles (7350km) from Brazil. She arrived on 4th April, meaning that her long flight from the edge of the Amazon Rainforest took 27 days to complete. Belle has not bred before, but her early arrival this spring means there is every chance that 2015 will be the year! You can read more about Belle on Rob Bierregaard’s website.

Belle flew 4500 miles in 27 days from Brazil to Masachusetts

Belle flew 4500 miles in 27 days from Brazil to Masachusetts

Another of the WOW Ospreys who is also very close to completing his migration, is Blue XD. This Scottish male, tracked by Roy Dennis, had reached the Scottish borders by last night. If the weather is good today then he may reach his nest site in Strathspey this evening. There’s lots more on Blue XD’s migration from Senegal on Roy’s website.

The remaining five WOW Ospreys are all still much further from home. North Fork Bob – another American bird – is lagging behind Donovan and Belle and has only just reached Florida. Meanwhile, the fours Finns, Ilpo, Helena, Tero and Seija also have a long way to go. So far, only Helena has reached Europe. The latest data shows that she is currently enjoying a break from her migration in Serbia. Further south, Ilpo and Seija are crossing the Sahara and Tero is in Saudi Arabia. You can find out more about the Finnish birds we’re following on the Finnish Museum of Natural History website.

Although World Osprey Week has now passed you can still sign-up in order to make links with other schools and access our free teaching resources.

For the latest locations of the World Osprey Week birds, check out our interactive map.

You can check out the location of the 9 WOW Ospreys on our interactive map. The map also shows the locations of participating schools

You can check out the location of the 9 WOW Ospreys on our interactive map. You can also choose to view the locations of participating schools

The long and winding road

It was so exciting on Thursday to see the return of 30(05)! She is a very well-known and much-loved bird, not least because she is the only one who’s movements we can follow! And follow her we have. We have been with 30 through every step of her arduous northwards migration this season, worrying about the weather, her slow progress, and hoping that she would make it home ok. It may have taken her more than twice as long as last season, but make it she did, and we are over the moon to have her back. It was even more exciting that her first port of call was Manton Bay!

30(05) on the Manton Bay nest

30(05) on the Manton Bay nest


We have charted 30’s journey all the way from her wintering grounds in Senegal, right back to Rutland. She left her spot on the Senegalese coast on 10th March, and 24 days later, on 2nd April, she arrived in Rutland. Below is a table that outlines the distance she travelled on each day of her migration, and the hours she spent migrating each day.

Day Date Distance (km) Distance (miles) Time migrating Total hours
1 10th March 226 140 10:00 – 19:00 9
2 11th March 269 167 08:00 – 19:00 11
3 12th March 228 142 10:00 – 19:00 9
4 13th March 194 120 10:00 – 19:00 9
5 14th March 197 122 07:00 – 19:00 12
6 15th March 210 130 07:00 – 21:00 14
7 16th March 301 187 06:00 – 21:00 15
8 17th March 287 178 06:00 – 19:00 13
9 18th March 744 462 07:00 – 22:00 15
10 19th March 283 176 06:00 – 19:00 13
11 20th March 329 204 08:00 – 19:00 11
12 21st March 327 203 07:00 – 21:00 14
13 22nd March 242 150 06:00 – 16:00 10
14 23rd March 153 95 08:00 – 15:00 7
15 24th March 72 45 09:00 – 14:00 5
16 25th March 223 138 06:00 – 18:00 12
17 26th March 236 147 07:00 – 17:00 10
18 27th March 139 86 07:00 – 16:00 9
19 28th March 70 43 11:00 – 14:00 3
20 29th March 164 102 05:00 – 15:00 10
21 30th March 129 80 08:00 – 15:00 7
22 31st March - - - -
23 1st April 288 180 08:00 – 19:00 11
24 2nd April 99 61 05:00 – 12:00 7


As you can see from the table, there were days when 30 didn’t travel very far at all, and on 31st March she did not go anywhere, and sensibly stayed where she was on the River Bresle in France. This was due to the atrocious weather conditions that she had to contend with. On the other hand, there were a few days where 30 made quite good progress, such as on 18th March where she travelled 744km (462 miles) in one day.

During her 24 days of migration, 30 covered a total of 5,405km (3,358 miles). Her average distance per day was 225km (139 miles). 30 spent 236 hours on the wing during this year’s migration. This is out of the 576 hours that her migration took her in total.

30(05) flew over Eyebrook Reservoir on her way back to Rutland Water

30(05) returning to Rutland on 2nd April


As Tim said, we do not know what 30 will do now. It is exciting to see her back, and also to speculate on what might happen next. Of course, it can only be speculation, because there is no way to predict what the Ospreys will do! We had thought 28(10) might stick around in Manton Bay and claim it as his territory, however we have not seen him in the Bay for a few days. The thought crossed our minds that 30 might decide to breed in Manton Bay, as her nest last year failed and she does not have a partner. Perhaps if 28 had still been around on Thursday, 30 might have stayed. As it was, she did not return here after she left to go fishing.

Another poser is whether Maya will return this year. Could it be that in two consecutive years we have lost both of the pair from Manton Bay who bred here for four years? 5R(04)’s failure to return last season was a heavy blow, and the thought that we may have lost Maya this year will be a hard fact to handle.

We are hopeful that, should Maya fail to return, 30 or another female could take over her position as breeding female in Manton Bay. 33(11) may also be on his way back, and we know he thinks this nest is his! Therefore he will almost certainly be resident in Manton Bay, and his presence will encourage a female to stay and breed.

Unfortunately, there is nothing that we can do except wait, with mixed feelings of excitement and anxiety!

30 preparing to fly off

30’s beautifully patterned under-wing


There are still several World Osprey Week Ospreys on their way north – check out the latest locations of all of them on our interactive map. 

30 Keeps us Guessing

We knew it was going to be difficult to predict what 30(05) would do after she returned to Rutland Water, and so it is proving. As you will know if you have checked the webcam today, there has been no Osprey activity in Manton Bay, other than a brief fly-by by an unidentified female – probably 25(10). Without a male in Manton Bay it is unlikely that 30 will settle there and so she is likely to keep us guessing over the next few days. Last year 33(11) arrived on 13th April, but given that he will be eager to breed for the first time this spring, he could arrive any day. As for Maya, we are now becoming increasingly concerned that she may not return. She is over two weeks late compared to last spring. Although spring migration has been very slow this year – and numerous other Ospreys are yet to return – it is extremely worrying that she is so late.

We’re still waiting to find out 30’s exact flight path from Cambridge to Rutland Water yesterday morning (the latest batch of satellite data hasn’t come through yet) but we do have two photographs of her that John Wright took at Eyebrook Reservoir yesterday as she headed back to Rutland Water.

30(05) flew over Eyebrook Reservoir on her way back to Rutland Water

30(05) flew over Eyebrook Reservoir on her way back to Rutland Water

The aerial on 30's satellite transmitter is clearly visible in this photo

The aerial on 30’s satellite transmitter is clearly visible in this photo

30 is the first of the nine satellite-tagged Ospreys that we have been following as part of World Osprey Week to have made it home. Of the four Finnish WOW birds, only Helena has made it to Europe so far; the latest data shows that she was flying through Serbia on Wednesday. The other three birds, Ilpo, Tero and Seija are all still in Africa. You can read more about their journeys on the  Finnish Museum of Natural History website. 

In contrast to the Finns, over the other side of the Atlantic, two of the American WOW Ospreys are getting very close to home. Iain MacLeod from the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center takes up the story…

Donovan made a big push over the last couple days. He was on his way by 10am on March 31 and by 11am was well into Virginia. He crossed the Potomac in early afternoon and reached Philadelphia by 5pm. He roosted just north of the city near Fort Washington having covered 319 miles (514km) in the day. At 10am on the 1st, he was perched next to Loch Ash Reservoir near Ambler, but by 11am he was cruising north-east again. He passed right over Newark, Jersey City and Manhattan in the mid-afternoon and kept going until 7pm when he was near Old Lyme on the Connecticut coast (an Osprey haven). He spent the night near Dunk’s Island having moved another 171 miles (275km). Now what? Most of New Hampshire is still frozen, so will he hang out on the coast for a while or try to head back to his nest? He’s 157 miles (252km) from his nest, so he could do that in a day, but I suspect he might wait until the weekend. Belle, meanwhile, is also nearing home. The latest data shows that by Wednesday evening she had reached New Jersey on her way back to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts.

Donovan and Belle are getting closer to home

Donovan and Belle are getting closer to home

Donovan 040215 small

The third American bird, North Folk Bob is much further behind. The latest data shows that yesterday he was preparing to set-off across the Caribbean Sea from Venezuela.  Thanks to Iain and Rob Bierregaard for the updates.

You can check out the latest locations of all of the WOW Ospreys on our interactive map. Make sure you use the controls at the bottom of the screen to watch an animation of the birds’ spring migrations – it makes for fascinating viewing.

30’s Return

It is always incredibly exciting to see an Osprey return in the spring; but what we witnessed at Lyndon today was even more special. Over the past three weeks we have followed 30(05) on every leg of her 3000 mile migration from Senegal. Today she arrived back at Rutland Water and we were waiting for her.

The latest satellite data showed that 30(05) roosted 18 miles south of Cambridge last night and so we expected her to arrive at Rutland Water this morning. Sure enough, just before 11am she was seen by John Wright as she flew north over Eyebrook Reservoir. Eyebrook is just a few miles south of Rutland Water and we thought her next stop might be Manton Bay. Queue an anxious wait at the Lyndon Visitor Centre as we scanned the skies to the south. Finally, some 45 minutes later, an Osprey came into view, followed by a Red Kite. Suddenly it folded its wings and descended quickly to the nest. It was 30!  The video below was recorded just a few seconds after she landed on the nest – her yellow ring and satellite transmitter both clearly visible.

30(05) looking up at a Red Kite shortly after she had landed on the nest

30(05) looking up at a Red Kite shortly after she had landed on the nest

30 spent five minutes on the nest before taking off again. She headed off powerfully to the east, evidently in search of a late breakfast.

Soon afterwards I received a call from Jamie Weston to say that he and Lawrence Ball had just seen 30 (easily identifiable by her satellite transmitter) at Horn Mill Trout Farm. 30 had appeared overhead while they were working beside one of the ponds. She circled a couple of times and then disappeared off up the valley. Half an hour or so later Jamie and Lawrence were at their other fish farm site, at Ryhall, and an Osprey appeared again. And guess what? It was 30; and this time she meant business. While Jamie and Lawrence looked on she made a couple of circuits of the farm and then suddenly dived down, close to the photography hide that we helped to build last summer. After a brief struggle she emerged with a trout!

Having caught a fish 30 headed off out of sight and we haven’t seen her for the rest of the day. As I said this morning, we are unsure of where 30 will settle this spring. If Maya fails to return to Manton Bay, then she may breed there. Alternatvely she may settle at another nest elsewhere. Thanks to her satellite transmitter we will be able to monitor all her movements very closely – and it will make for fascinating watching. For the time being, though, it is just great to see her back in Rutland.

As 30 proved today, the fish farms at Horn Mill and Ryhall are extremely valuable for the Ospreys at a time of year when fishing in the reservoir is often difficult. Since he returned on 16th March, 03(97) has caught all of his fish at Horn Mill Trout Farm, providing spectacular views for photographers in the hide which overlooks a pond stocked with trout. Over the coming weeks Ryhall is likely to become equally important. We know that 28(10) has already caught several fish there this week and, with 30 also visiting today, the hide there is likely to provide great views for photographers too. To find out more about how you can book a place in the hides, check out the River Gwash Trout Farm website.

We’ll have more on 30’s return tomorrow – and also an update on the latest locations of the other World Osprey Week Ospreys.

03(97) has fished at Horn Mill Trout Farm almost every day since returning on 16th March (photo by Geoff Harries)

03(97) has fished at Horn Mill Trout Farm almost every day since returning on 16th March (photo by Geoff Harries)