Osprey 09

Male Osprey 09 was translocated to Rutland Water in 1998. He paired up with 5N(04) at Site N (a nest on private land near Rutland Water), following the loss of her mate 08(97) in May 2011. He successfully bred for the first time with 5N in 2012. Sadly 09 died during his Autumn migration.

The Master Migrator is already in Spain

Since my report yesterday the rest of 09’s data has come through and not only can we fill in the gaps from the beginning of his journey from Rutland, but we’ve also got an extra few hours of data. 09 has made incredible progess and only 34 hours after leaving his roost site on Wednesday morning he successfully crossed the Bay of Biscay and has reached Northern Spain.

The last time John Wright saw 09 in Rutland was on Tuesday, 4th September, as he bathed on Lagoon 4 on the eve of his 3000 mile journey.

09(98) bathing on Lagoon 4

09(98) on Lagoon 4

09 decided that it was time to leave at 9am the following morning, Wednesday 5th September, and after flying due south at 3400 feet for two hours he was already near Bedford. In the next leg 09 set a new flight speed record, an incredible 55mph! Helped along by a northerly wind he had soon reached the south coast and left the shores of England not far from Bognor Regis just before 2pm. It’s amazing what a difference the weather makes. Last year when 09 crossed the English Channel he flew very low above the sea, presumably to avoid the fog, but this time he was 1150 feet above the water and with a speed of 44mph he soon made land close to Bayeux just before 5pm. After the first eight hours of migration, 09 had covered 250 miles.

Crossing the Channel 5th September

For an yesterday’s account of 09’s journey through France, click here. In short, 09 continued south-west and decided to roost 130 miles inland. The next morning, Thursday 6th, he had covered 64 miles in four hours when he reached the west coast. At 3pm he was 700 feet above the Bay of Biscay and after maintaining a speed of 44mph he reached Northern Spain at 7pm yesterday evening. The last data point shows 09 just 37 miles west of Santander where he found a place to rest in the high hills just outside the Picos de Europa National Park.

09 rests outside the Picos de Europa National Park

It’s safe to say that 09 has had perfect weather for the start of his migration. As he headed south through England he was helped by a northerly wind and then he appeared to follow it when he reached France and the wind shifted to a south-westerly. The start of his migration this year is distinctly different from the route he took in 2011, see photos below. Last year 09 travelled through the centre of France and had many stops along the way but this time he skirted over the western corner and headed straight over the Bay of Biscay. This more direct route is most likely a result of better weather conditions.

09’s flight through France September 2011

09’s flight through France September 2012

In 2011 it took 09 four days to get as far south as he is now but this time he has travelled 700 miles in just 34 hours. Watch out Morocco, the Master Migrator is on his way!

After 34 hours 09 is in Spain

09 is off!

It’s been a couple of days since 09 was last seen in Rutland so when the first batch of satellite data came through we expected him to be on his way to his wintering site in Senegal. After eagerly checking the data all day when it finally came through I nearly fell off my chair! 09 certainly is well on his way…

09 is on his way to Spain

Some of the data is yet to come through so the first location we have for 09 after leaving Rutland is in Northern France. Between 5pm on Tuesday and the same time yesterday he had flown 250 miles and was nine miles south of Bayeux. At just over 2000 feet he was flying south-west at a speed of 43 mph and he was showing no signs of stopping. By 7pm 09 was in Brittany, just 20 miles away from Renne, and he maintained his speed and altitude as he continued south. He decided to roost next to a river near La Gommerais, a small village 10 miles south-west of Châteaubriant.

At 11am this morning 09 had passed Nantes at an altitude of just over 500 feet and he was travelling at a leisurely 31 mph. By 1pm he had reached the west coast of France and had flown over Saint-Jean-de-Monts, a town renowned for it’s sandy beaches.


I’m sure 09 was tempted to stop but he decided to continue south and by 3pm this afternoon he was out in the middle of the Bay of Biscay, just 100 miles north of Spain.

It will be a few days before we can find out more about 09’s progress but hopefully we’ll soon get the full batch of data so we can see how he made his way through England and across the Channel. Our Google Earth page will also be updated shortly. In the meantime at least we know that he is safely on his way.

When will 09 depart?

With the Manton Bay family all heading south, the last Osprey left in Rutland is 09(98). Last year he started his migration on 2nd September, but he appears in no hurry to leave this year, despite the fact that its now two weeks since his family departed. Yesterday evening he was perched on Lagoon 4 – which has become a favourite perching spot recently.

As soon as 09 does leave, we’ll be posting regular updates on his migration. His satellite transmitter is on a three day transmission cycle with the next batch of data due in tomorrow. I wonder if he will still be in Rutland? Watch this space.

09 perched on Lagoon 4 on Saturday evening


A generous donation and some freedom for 09

Last year 09(98) left Rutland on 2nd September, but with his family already heading south, he could leave earlier this year. With this in mind we’re checking his satellite data a couple of times each day; and once he does leave, we’ll be posting daily updates on the website.

In the meantime, it has been fascinating to follow his daily movements now that he doesn’t have a family to feed. Since his offspring left the weekend before last, 09 has spent very little time at Site N. Instead he has roosted up to seven miles away and visited several of the vacant nest sites in the Rutland Water area. In fact his movements are now very reminiscent of the kind of thing we were seeing last summer, when he wasn’t breeding. Perhaps he is enjoying rekindling his bachelor lifestyle again?   

It is this information on the birds daily movements around Rutland that make the satellite tracking data so useful. It goes without saying that it is fantastic to be able to follow their migration, but to be able chart an indivdual’s local movements is extremely valuable too. For this reason we’re very grateful to the East Midlands branch of the Hawk and Owl Trust who donated £500 last week to help cover the costs of receving the satellite-tracking data. Here is a photo of me receiving the cheque from Treasurer Simon Dudhill (left) and Chairman Geoff Williamson (right). Thanks very much guys!  

Simon Dudhill, Tim Mackrill and Geoff Williamson at the cheque presentation

The Hawk and Owl Trust East Midlands Group has started putting together a series of future talks and events for the coming year, with talks in September and October already arranged. The group holds the majority of those talks at Birdwatching Centre at Egleton. If you are interested in being included on their mailing list for information on all those events then please contact the group on eastmidlandshot@gmail.com or visit their website.

So long, farewell. Well, not for the Manton Bay family

All four of the Manton Bay family are present again today, but that’s not the case at all of the Rutland nests.

03(97)’s unringed mate at Site B left in early August, and now two of her offspring are on the move too. 1F and 2F must have set off on migration over the weekend, because neither bird has been seen since. As a result, its now not unusual for Site B to be devoid of Ospreys during the day. There is usually one juvenile who lingers longer than its siblings, though, and this year it is 3F. The young female (we initially thought she was a male – but are now confident she’s a female) continues to return to the nest each evening and, as you would expect of an experienced breeding Ospreys, 03(97) is still providing fish for her. Quite how long she will stay,we’re not sure, but with poor weather forecast for the next few days, she may remain into the early part of next week.

Elsewhere, 09(98)’s first-ever family have also set out on migration. Like the Site B youngsters, 0J and 0F departed over the weekend; and it’s amazing to think that they could already be in France. Before setting off on their first extremely hazardous flight south, the two Site N chicks paid a visit to Manton Bay. Here are a couple of photos taken by John Wright at the end of last week.

0J from Site N intruding at the Manton Bay nest

0F intruding at the Manton bay nest

With his two chicks and mate heading south (5N(04) also left at the weekend), 09 himself could leave any day. Thanks to his satellite transmitter we’ll be able to follow his 3000 mile flight to Senegal in incredible detail – and will be providing daily updates on his progress as he flies south. It will be really interesting to see how how this autumn’s journey compares to last year. One thing we can be sure of, is that he’ll be heading for the same stretch of Senegalese coastline as last winter.

Unlike their compatriots at Site B and Site N, the Manton Bay juveniles seem content to stay put for the time being. The two juveniles are providing great views for visitors to Waderscrape and Shallow Water hides at Lyndon at the moment. Here are a couple of photos of 9F playing in the wind earlier this week.

9F playing in the wind

…and enjoying the wind some more

We enjoyed some superb Osprey Cruises over the Birdfair weekend, and we still have some places left for the last cruise of the season, which takes place on Saturday. So if you fancy one last Osprey-fix this summer, you can book online here.