Osprey 30

Female Osprey 30 fledged from the Site B nest in 2005. She returned to Rutland in 2007 and bred for the first time in 2009, raising two chicks with translocated male 08(01), at a nest on private land known as Site K. 30 and 08 raised a further six chicks from 2010 to 2012. Sadly 08 did not return in 2013 and 30 did not breed in 2013 or 2014. In 2015, however, she found a new mate and raised two chicks!

30(05) is in Morocco!

Last time we checked in with 30(05) she was just shy of the Mauritanian border, about to head into the West Sahara – that was on the 14th of March. We have now had more data from her satellite tracker showing that she has safely crossed the West Sahara, potentially the most hazardous part of her journey, and has now reached the southern tip of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco.

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The Atlas Mountains rise to more that 3,500m in places, and Ospreys often skirt around the north side of the mountains, avoiding the higher peaks that lie further to the east. 30(05) is an experienced bird, so this is the route we would expect her to take – this is the 22nd time she has migrated! This image from google maps shows the kind of landscape she is currently flying over.

30(05) view 101m up

Since we last checked 30(05)’s data on 14th March she has traveled nearly 850 miles – and she still has over 1500 miles to go. Last year she set off on 10th March and arrived back on 26th March – this year she set off a day later and is making slightly steadier progress. For the past three days 30(05) has traveled on average 200 miles a day, compared to 290 miles per day on the equivalent part of her journey last year. This is probably down to unfavourable wind conditions in her location – hopefully as she passes into Europe the conditions will be in her favour and she will make her way quickly back to Rutland. We’ll keep you updated on her progress!

Nearly halfway

 

 

30(05) Migration Update

30(05) is continuing her migration up the coast of West Africa, and had almost reached the border of Mauritania when she settled to roost on 14th March.

30(05)'s roost 14th March

She has flown 331 miles since we last caught up with her on the evening of March 11th, continuing to stick to the coast as she travels north. From the map we can see that 30(05) has visited Banc d’Arguin National Park on her way – a great spot for her to catch a bite to eat to fuel her journey, and on the map we can see that she traveled to the water at two different spots about 100 miles apart.

Visits to the coast at Banc d'Arguin

Visits to the coast at Banc d’Arguin

Her route so far is similar to the route the plane takes when then Osprey team travel back from Africa each January – Field Officer John Wright captured these images from the sky this winter as the plane flew over Banc d’Arguin, showing one of the spots where 30(05) stopped to fish on her journey!

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30(05)'s fishing spot

30(05)’s fishing spot

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The section of coastline shown in John's images

The section of coastline shown in John’s images

It’s also clear to see how the landscape changes from her greener wintering grounds in Senegal. Today at Banc d’Arguin the temperature has reached 35°C. Meanwhile at Rutland the weather hasn’t been quite as warm, though we can’t complain – spring is in the air and we’ve been enjoying some beautiful sunsets lately (although the local wildlife seems oblivious!).

Sunset at Manton Bay

Cormorant snoozing at Manton Bay

 

 

 

 

 

 

Opening Weekend

Lyndon opened this weekend for the first time after the winter break, and it was great to welcome visitors back through the doors. The osprey aren’t due to return for another couple of weeks, but those of you who keep an eye on the osprey webcam will know that we haven’t been watching an empty nest.

On Friday night a cormorant could be seen roosting on an outer branch of the nest. The bird remained at the nest for most of the weekend, drying it’s wings and preening.


We also have had occasional visits from the Egyptian Geese. They seem to be eyeing the nest up and as you can see, they have created a hollow to the left hand side. Let’s hope our ospreys are successful in chasing them off on their return!

We also have exciting news from Senegal – 30(05) is on the move! She set of in the morning on March 11th, and by 7pm the same day she had already traveled over 135 miles, reaching Mauritania.

30 11th March

30(05) seems to be following the coast this year, quite different from her 2016 migration route. This will hopefully be a safer route for her, as she should never be too far from food should she need it.

30(05)'s 2016 migration route

30(05)’s 2016 migration route (solid red line), compared to her progress so far

We can see from the map that 30(05) has flown over Grand Lac in Djoudj National Park, an enormous lake home to hundreds of thousands of waterfowl.

30(05)'s route over Grand Lac in Djoudj National Park

30(05)’s route over Grand Lac in Djoudj National Park

Our Field Officer John Wright visited Grand Lac in December. John reported than whenever an osprey flew over the lake, hundreds of thousands of waterfowl would be flushed into the air, which is illustrated in the incredible photos John captured below. We can imagine that 30(05) will have seen similar sights on her migration over the lake, albeit from an aerial viewpoint!

Grand Lac, Djoudj National Park (Photo J.Wright)

Grand Lac, Djoudj National Park (Photo J.Wright)

 

Grand Lac, Djoudj National Park (Photo J.Wright)

Grand Lac, Djoudj National Park (Photo J.Wright)

Grand Lac, Djoudj National Park (Photo J.Wright)

Grand Lac, Djoudj National Park (Photo J.Wright)

In the photos we can see greater and lesser flamingos, white pelicans, white-faced whistling ducks, garganey and pintail. It is a real treat to see these images and visualise where 30(05) has been. Thank you John!

We will next get an update on 30(05)’s location in a couple of days, and can’t wait to see how she has progressed.

 

Coming home soon

It’s absolutely fantastic that we have the ability to track one of our ospreys using satellites. The data from the transmitter on 30(05)’s back has given us a wealth of information over the years about her whereabouts, and the specifics of her migration. It won’t be long before we are able to watch 30, albeit via dots on a map, return once again from her beach in Senegal to Rutland Water.

Currently, and for the past few months, 30 has been spending her time perched on various pieces of driftwood in her section of the long stretch of beach between Dakar and St Louis in Senegal. She takes one or two trips out to sea to fish per day, and the occasional jaunt inland to perch in the dense woodland behind the beach. She has an idyllic life in the winter, with no-one to worry about but herself.

30 26th Jan

Soon though, she must return to her natal land to raise another brood of chicks. Her instinct will tell her when she should leave. Last year 30 began heading for home on 10th March. So she may only have another month of relaxation to enjoy! We look forward to seeing those little red dots move from the location above, and start creating an almost straight line back to England!

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

30 arriving home last year (Photo J.Wright)

 

 

 

Seasons in the sun

Our satellite-tracked osprey, 30(05), still appears to be having a relaxing winter in Senegal! She doesn’t have to travel far at all in the winter to get what she needs, and can thus conserve her energy, replenish her condition and be ready for her northwards journey in the spring. She has her little patch of beach to call her own, which she will defend from other ospreys, as she will defend her nest in the UK. However, there are a lot of other ospreys in the general area where 30 winters, and they are all relatively tolerant of each other. Much more so than in the breeding season in England, anyway! 30 only has to feed herself twice a day, but even then she doesn’t have to go far, as the sea is right there and the fish are plentiful. The furthest she went to catch a fish over the past twenty days was just over a mile!

In the map below, you can see 30’s movements over the past month, and how little she has had to move. It seems that she went on a little trip inland on 5th November, but was back at her spot on the beach within three hours. Perhaps she fancied a change of scenery!

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30 on her patch of beach