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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 April 1, 2014
Apart from one brief visit to the nest by 5N, it has been quiet day in Manton Bay as we wait for the return of 5R. In the meantime, we have an update on the progress on several of the World Osprey Week Ospreys.
The latest data shows that the two Scottish males, Yellow HA and Blue XD, have both reached northern Spain where they have been held up by poor weather. Roy Dennis takes up the story…
The previous data had shown that on 26th March Yellow HA flew north for over 280 km in Morocco and roosted north of a reservoir near Sidi Slimane. He set-off early the next morning and at 8.06am was flying north at 52km/h direct towards Tangier. The weather was cloudy with south-west winds and he should have made a good crossing to southern Spain. The data doesn’t show the exact location of his crossing to Europe, but that night he roosted next to a river to the west of Toledo after a flight of 650km from Morocco. By 4pm next day (28th March) he was over the Cantabrian mountains heading for the Bay of Biscay and had altered course to NE. He had already flown 360 km and was flying at 50 km/h at an altitude of 1575 metres. That evening he reached the north coast of Spain and roosted near the estuary at Santander. The weather was clearly poor next morning because he flew only a short way east to Santona estuary where he spent the day. This is a favourite migratory stop off for ospreys in spring and autumn, so a great place for Yellow HA to stop-over.
Blue XD meanwhile,is 165km south-east of his compatriot in the south of the Navarre region. On 27th March he flew 530 km from Morocco and crossed the Mediterranean Sea to the east of Gibraltar, under cloudy skies and a SW wind. At 5.28pm he was flying north at 65 km/h NE of Cordoba heading for the mountains. After roosting near Montoro, he set off at about 9am next morning to fly north over Spain. Four-and-a-half hours later had flown 210 km and was near Toledo. He flew over Madrid at 1436GMT and by evening had flown 475 km and was roosting near Covaleda, just south of Rioja region. He was making great progress north, but like Yellow HA, he was then delayed by the weather. He flew just a short distance east on 29th March to a large reservoir, Embalse de la Cuerda del Pozo and then on 30th he flew just 86km north to the Rio Ebro, where he spent the day.
In the last World Osprey Week update, Pertti Saurola reported that Finnish Osprey Ilmari had set-off on his spring migration to southern Finland. Excitingly, we are now also following another Finish bird, Haikki. Haikki breeds in Lapland making him one of the northernmost Ospreys in the world. He left his nest on 22nd September and flew over 10,000km south to the coast of Mozambique. He now has also set-off on the long return migration and we’ll be reporting on his progress.
Here is the update on the two birds.
28 March 2014
On the evening of 27 March, another 44 km were added to Ilmari’s trip, so he travelled a total of 222 kilometres this day. Ilmari stopped for the night 118 kilometres due east from the city of Makurdi.
At 7 o’clock, GMT, i.e. 8 o’clock local time, Ilmari had landed west of Riti, 18 kilometres from his overnight location. After that, Ilmari proceeded with determination and settled down for the night around 17 o’clock after covering 345 kilometres during this day.
29 March 2014
According to a fix received at 8, local time, Ilmari was in flight 23 kilometres from his stopover place, at an occasional speed of 34 km per hour, but two hours later he was on the ground only a kilometre from the previous positioning. Maybe Ilmari had managed to catch a snack-sized fish on the way? It looks like Ilmari did not continue his flight until it was almost noon, and then he hurried on to his stopover location southwest of Bukarti, where he arrived around 17 o’clock after travelling 246 kilometres this day.
30 March 2014
At 8 o’clock local time, Ilmari had landed less than one kilometre from his overnight location. It would seem that he had nabbed an early morning fish in the nearby river. Around noon, Ilmari crossed the border between Nigeria and Niger. After that, Ilmari continued flying for six hours, then settled down for the night in the fairly rough environment south of Kelle. During this day, Ilmari travelled 191 kilometres. We are expecting new fixes in three days’ time.
28 March 2014
At 07:00 (05:00 GMT), local Mozambique time, Heikki was still by the river, some three kilometres from his roost at the shoreline. At 09:00, the satellite discovered Heikki right by the shore; it seems he was partaking of the last breakfast fish he would get at his wintering range before setting out on his long and hard journey to the north of Finland. At 11:00, Heikki was flying at an elevation of some 450 metres above land, and 48 kilometres from his stopover location. At 15:00 Heikki was flying west of the city of Nampula, and settled down for the night in a location some 66 kilometres north-northeast of Nampula. He travelled some 294 kilometres during this day.
29 March 2014
On this morning, Heikki was already in flight at 7 o’clock, and 23 kilometres from his stopover location. During the four hours between 09:00 and 13:00, Heikki progressed some 180 kilometres, i.e. his average speed was 45 kilometres per hour. Heikki’s route took him almost straight northwards along the coast, some 150 kilometres from the shoreline. Heikki already stopped for the night by 15 o’clock, but still he covered 353 kilometres during this day.
30 March 2014
Heikki flew over the Ravuma, the river on the border between Mozambique and Tanzania at 07:00 (GMT), i.e. at 9:00 Mozambican time and 10:00 Tanzanian time. (Neither country implements summer or daylight saving time, which Europe switches to the previous night). After a somewhat meandering flight for some eight hours, covering 199 kilometres, Heikki stopped in a seemingly uninhabited area between Nahungo and Nakiu, at 16 o’clock, local Tanzanian time. The last fix we have received so far is from 18 o’clock. We are expecting new fixes in three days’ time.
You can check-out the current locations of all the WOW Ospreys on our interactive map. Although World Osprey Week has now passed, you can still register your school on the website. This gives you access to a range of completely free resources for primary and secondary schools. To register, click here.
We’ll have more on a very successful World Osprey Week on the website tomorrow. Meanwhile to read more about the WOW Ospreys, click here.
By Tim on March 25, 2014
World Osprey Week got off to a great start yesterday with the return of 30(05) to Rutland Water. The latest satellite data shows that she flew direct from northern France during the morning, covering an incredible 285km in just over five hours – an average of more that 50km/hour. And she’s not the only WOW Osprey who has been on the move in the past two days – we also have some amazing flights across the Sahara and a night-time sea crossing to update you on!
The previous batch of data had shown that 30 had roosted on the banks of the River Seine in Normandy on Saturday evening. Next morning she took full advantage by fishing in the river and nearby lakes. If she caught a fish then she didn’t hang around to eat it for too long, because at 11am she had flown 44km north-east and was perched in the middle of a large field in eastern Normandy. The forecast for Sunday was for strong northerly winds and occasional rain, and that probably explains wher unexpected break. She must have resumed her migration soon after because an hour later she was another 33km further north, approaching the English Channel. However, rather than heading towards the coast, she then turned to the north-east and flew another 65km parallel with the coastline. It is likely that the weather then took another turn for the worst because at 3pm she was perched just north of a series of lakes close to the village of Marenla in western Nord-Pas-de-Calais. Either that, or the sight of the lakes was just too appealing a prospect for her to resist! An hour later she was perched between two of the lakes, and that’s where she stayed for the rest of the evening, after a day’s flight of 144km.
Next morning the weather had changed. The wind had turned to a south-easterly and the sky was clear. Sensing her opportunity to get back to Rutland, 30 set-off before 8am and by 9am she was crossing the English Channel at an altitude of 300 metres. It took her an hour to make the 50km crossing from Boulogne-sur-Mer to Folkestone.
At 10am she was powering north over the Kent countryside, passing to the east of Ashford and on towards the Thames estuary. By 11am she was flying at an altitude of more that 1100 metres, passing over Canvey Island and into Essex. She flew past Stansted airport at midday and then over Grafham Water at around 12:30. She was almost home.
At 1:15pm her nest finally came into view. She folded her wings and dropped down onto the nest that she had left on 29th August last year. John Wright was waiting nearby to capture the wonderful moment when she arrived home.
Much further south, two other WOW Ospreys have also been making good progress north across the Sahara Desert. Yellow HA and Blue XD are both heading for nests in north-east Scotland and, when Roy Dennis received the latest batch of data from their satellite transmitters, they were just over 200km apart in Morocco. The race is on to see who will be home first. Roy takes up the story…
The previous batch of data had shown that Yellow HA was heading north across the Sahara on 21st March. We now know that he roosted that night north of the Fderîck mine in Mauritania. He continued to make steady progress over the next two days, flying over 600km north-east from Mauritania into Western Sahara and then into Morocco. By 5pm yesterday evening he had flown another 290 km and was heading purposefully north-north-east at an altitude of 3869 metres (the start of the Atlas mountains below him were 1700 metres).
Like Yellow HA, Blue XD also made a westerly track across Senegal and Mauritania, passing east of the Mauritanian capital Nouakchott on 19th Match and then east of the the famous coastal wetlands of Banc d’Arguin next day. He continued to make steady progress across the remote desert and by 6:25pm on 22nd March he was north of the Fderîck mine. He maintained a north-north-east track through northern Mauritania and by 7:09pm on 24th March he was roosting in the Moroccan desert after a day’s flight of 382km. He was now just 212 km behind Yellow HA. Will he catch up before the birds reach Europe? Watch this space!
The two Scottish birds had to contend with one of the most inhospitable parts of the planet as they flew across the Sahara, but they are not the only WOW Ospreys to have made long flights in recent days. Over the other side of the Atlantic Donovan has now reached the United States, but he didn’t do it the easy way, as Iain MacLeod reports…
Donovan made a crazy flight through a whole day and night from Havana to the Florida pan handle covering more than 490 miles (788km). Who knows why he didn’t take the Ospreys normal land route through Florida. He hung out in downtown Havana for a day and a half fishing along a small river. He headed out at 10am on the 22nd and headed due north out into the Straits of Florida. He flew throughout the day and took a marked jog to the west at 6pm. For the next two hours he continued west (!) but had corrected back to a more northerly track by 10pm (in the dark). He obviously kept going throughout the night and by his next point at 10am on the 23rd, he had made landfall near Port St. Joe on Cape San Blas in western Florida. He rested there for a couple hours and fished along a narrow drainage ditch, then resumed his northbound push, ending the day on a small pond 10 miles south of Chattahoochee. The next morning he flew up to the Chattahoochee River, then continued north into Georgia. He ended the day on a small pond just east of Cuthbert in Randolph County in Georgia a little more than a 1,000 miles from home in Tilton.
So there you have it, that is the latest on the amazing WOW Ospreys. Check back for another update tomorrow, and don’t forget you can also follow the birds’ progress on our interactive map.
To find out more about how your school can get involved in World Osprey Week, click here.
By Kayleigh Brookes on March 25, 2014
We were all delighted yesterday when 30(05) returned to Rutland Water! Another one of our WOW Ospreys makes it home! We have all enjoyed watching her movements and following her journey home, possible thanks to her GPS satellite transmitter. Some of the team even got the enviable opportunity to see this beautiful bird at her wintering grounds in Senegal. Now she is home again, and we will have photographs to share on the website very soon!
30(05)’s return puts the Rutland Water Osprey total to eight. Surprisingly, seven of these birds are females. There is a commonly held belief that male Ospreys are usually the first to return to their nest sites, followed by their mates. This year, our females have turned this conviction on it’s head!
Due to the abundance of females, there has been lots of activity from them as they check out the different nests in the area. The Manton Bay nest has been visited by several other female Ospreys – 25(10) on 19th March, 00(09) on 21st March, and 5N(04) on 22nd March. 25(10) has also visited Site B!
Here are a few photographs of 5N(04) intruding at Manton Bay.
There is one female who doesn’t have to wait for her mate, as he returned before her. 03(97), aka Mr Rutland, is back for his fourteenth season. He was the first Osprey to return to Rutland this year. Here he is on the nest with his mate.
It is brilliant to have a pair settled at their nest, ready for the season ahead. All we need now is the rest of our male Ospreys to return and join the females, to stop all this nest hopping! Come on boys, your ladies are waiting…..
By Tim on March 24, 2014
Talk about good timing…today was the first day of World Osprey Week and, as we had hoped, 30(05) has made it home! John Wright was at her nest site to see her drop down onto her nest close to Rutland Water at 1:20pm this afternoon. What a fantastic moment! We are still waiting for the full-set of satellite data to come through, so watch out for another update – including John’s photos – tomorrow when we’ll review her final two days of migration. For now, it is just great to know that she is home.
30 is the second of the WOW Ospreys to make it back to her nest site, but our other six birds still have a long way to go. This afternoon Rob Bierregaard sent us the latest update on Belle. Belle left her wintering site on the southern edge of the Amazon Rainforest on 14th March, and the latest data shows that she is making excellent progress north en route to Massachusetts in the United States. By 1pm on 22nd March she was approaching the northern reaches of the Andes in Venezuela, having flown more than 1250 miles (2011km) in eight days.
Rob reports that for most of the trip she has been close to the route she took last year, her second trip home. Her flight north has taken her through Brazil, into Colombia on 20th March (no border checkpoints for her!), and now to within 200 miles of the Gulf of Venezuela. She is now faced with the daunting prospect of crossing the Andes. It will be interesting to see if she flies north in order to use a pass through the mountains that she used in both 2012 and 2013. The image below (taken from Google Earth) shows the kind of view she was faced with as she flew towards the mountains. We wish her well!
Meanwhile in Africa our Finnish Osprey, Ilmari is still at his winter home in Cameroon. Pertti Saurola has sent us some more about his winter movements…
On 17 October, 2013, the satellites showed that Ilmari had returned for his second winter to the same seemingly unoccupied area that is criss-crossed by large and small rivers, situated at the west coast of Cameroon, halfway between Doula and Limbe (formerly Victoria), some 30 km west of Douala, formerly a centre for the slave trade and currently the largest city in Cameroon.
At the time of writing this (21 March), Ilmari is still at his wintering location. In spring 2013, Ilmari set out for his spring migration on 29 March, i.e. about a week after this date. So far, Ilmari has spent his winter remarkably similarly to last year.
All in all, Ilmari has moved around in an area covering 294 km² during this winter; last year his wintering territory was 295 km². If we only include 90% of the fixes in the calculations, the size of Ilmari’s main living range was only 0.3 km² large, while it was 0.8 km² last year. Of his night roosts 98% were concentrated inside 0.06 km². Last year his overnight locations were spread a tiny bit wider, over 0.4 km². Same as last year, the central point of Ilmari’s winter fixes was some 15 km from the shoreline of the Gulf of Guinea. The fixes that show his fishing trips are illustrated by two fan shapes on the map, one of which goes south, towards the sea, and the other, much thinner one, inland to the north-northeast. The furthest fixes were recorded at 25 km on the seaward-bound route and 9 km on the northern route from the central point of Ilmari’s winter range.
So far, the satellite has only discovered Ilmari flying over the open sea six times (exactly the same as last year!), and four times right above the shoreline. The data of the last two years strongly indicates that Ilmari has concentrated his fishing almost exclusively to the labyrinth formed by the delta rivers and the gulfs eating into the mainland. Some 15% of the daylight fixes (same as last year!) show Ilmari in the air, i.e. most probably out fishing. In other words, Ilmari has spent most of the winter in a very small area, perched at the top of a tree and waiting to set out on his spring migration – very like he did last year!
To read more about the satellite-tracking of Finnish Ospreys, click here.
Don’t forget that you can check out the latest locations of all the WOW Ospreys on our WOW interactive map.
To read more about all the Ospreys we’re tracking during WOW, click here.
By Tim on March 23, 2014
As we know from the recent arrivals at Rutland Water, Osprey migration is now in full swing. Migrant Ospreys are powering their way north towards nests in North America and Europe from wintering sites as diverse as the Amazon Rainforest and sub-Saharan Africa. It is an incredibly exciting time, and next week we hope that schools all around the world will share that excitement by getting involved in the first-ever World Osprey Week – or WOW for short!
Over the course of WOW we’ll be reporting on the migratory journeys of eight satellite-tagged Ospreys, who, thanks to the wonders of modern technology, we’re able to follow in incredible detail. Here’s an update on how our WOW birds are getting on so far…
If you have been keep up-to-date with the WOW Ospreys over the past few weeks, then you’ll know that our previous update showed that two of them are getting very close to home.
The first, 30(05), is returning to her nest close to Rutland Water having spent the winter on a beach in Senegal. By Friday evening she had reached central France, and her latest batch of GPS data shows that she is now even closer to home. Last night 30 roosted on the banks of the river Seine in Normandy. She is now just 400km from Rutland Water and so, all being well, she may arrive back sometime tomorrow.
We do not know what time 30 left her overnight roost site yesterday morning, but by midday she had already covered 180km north-east. A stiff south-westerly breeze had caused her to drift further to the east than we might have expected, and that continued to be the case during the afternoon. The wind helped her cover 110km over the next two hours, but she was drifting east all the time.
At 3pm 30 was perched beside the River Seine,another 27km to the north-east. Heavy showers were forecast for northern France yesterday afternoon and that may explain her unexpected stop. Despite her early finish she had covered 325 km during her day’s flight and was now within striking distance of the UK. She spent the rest of the afternoon beside the Seine, almost certainly taking the opportunity to catch her fish before she sets off on the final leg of her journey.
30 may be close to home, but she won’t be the first of the WOW Ospreys to get back to her nest. That honour has gone to Cosican Osprey, CAT. Having spent the winter in southern Spain – much further north that the other WOW Ospreys – CAT was always likely to be the first back to her nest. In our last WOW update we reported that CAT had flown the length of Spain in just three days.We now know that she spent the night of the 19th just south of Perpignan in the south of France, and next morning set out across the Mediterranean back towards home on the coastal cliffs of Corsica. She headed out to sea shortly after 7:30am and 10 hours later arrived in Corsica after an amazing flight of more than 500km.
You can look at CAT’s incredible flight in more detail on our WOW interactive map by clicking here. When you do, have a look at how different her spring migration has been compared to her autumn flight from Corsica to Spain. By flying further north through Spain and then into France, CAT shortened the sea crossing considerably and also benefited from the westerly winds which often blow during the spring in this part of the Mediterranean. Ospreys truly are master navigators!
Our remaining three European WOW Ospreys are all much further south.
Yellow HA and Blue XD are Scottish male Ospreys that were fitted with GSM satellite transmitters by Roy Dennis last year. The GSM transmitters – which send data through the mobile phone network – showed that the birds both wintered in Senegal, at the Sine-Saloum Delta and Casamance River respectively. They both began their spring migration on 16th March and are now heading across the vast wilds of the Sahara. The GSM transmitters collect data every minute, but because they work via the mobile phone network, the bird must be near a mobile phone mast for us to receive data! Roy Dennis takes up the story…
Having wintered on the north shore of the Casamance River in southern Senegal, Blue XD set off on migration at 10:38 on 16th March. He flew just under 200km north-east across the River Gambia to Dafar in Senegal.
Next morning he maintained a more northerly heading as he continued onward through Senegal. By the time he settled to roost for the night he had flown another 213 km. Since then he’s flown towards the Sahara Desert and will be out of mobile phone mast range until he approaches Morocco – so we have to wait until then to learn his timings and tracks over the desert.
Yellow HA, meanwhile, has migrated on a more westerly track so has picked up a mobile phone mast. Having left his wintering site at the Sine-Saloum Delta during the morning of 16th March, he roosted overnight on 17th/18th near Lac d’Guiers. Next day he flew 252 km north and then north-north-east inland of Nouakchott through Mauritania. On 19th March he flew another 232 km north-north-west and then north-north-east. The GSM transmitter, which collects data every minute, showed that his soar and glide path was very pronounced, suggesting that he was getting great lift over the desert. At 14:27 he started to soar from 704 metres and by 1434 topped out at 2329 metres, before gliding north – finally roosting in the desert at 18:22.
Over the next two days Yellow HA pushed on north, crossing into Western Sahara at 14:26 on 20th. By midday on 21st he was heading north over the desert. It will be fascinating to see where he, and Blue XD are when the next batch of data comes through – mobile phone masts permitting!
To see the latest locations of the two Scottish birds check out the interactive WOW map. You can find out more about Roy Dennis’s work on Ospreys on his website. Very many thanks to Roy for allowing us to include the two Scottish birds in WOW.
The two Scottish birds may be along way south of their compatriots from Rutland and Senegal, but at least they have started their migration. The final European WOW Osprey, Ilmari, is still at his wintering site in Cameroon.
Ilmari is a nine-year-old male Osprey from Hämeenlinna in southern Finland. It took him just under six weeks to reach his wintering site, 30 km west of Douala in Cameroon. To read more about this and his previous migrations, click here.
Last year Ilmari set off on his spring migration on 29th March, so, with a bit of luck, he should set off during WOW. Watch this space! We are very grateful to Professor Pertti Saurola, the Osprey Foundation and and the Finnish Museum of Natural History for allowing us to include Ilmari in World Osprey Week.
Over the other side of the Atlantic, we’re also following three American Ospreys on their journeys north. Two of them, Belle and Donovan have already set-off.
In our last update Iain MacLeod from the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center in New Hampshire reported that Donovan had reached Cuba. He obviously likes it there, as Iain reports…
Donovan surprised me and decided to hang out in a Cuba for a couple more days. As of the morning of 21st March he was in the middle of Havana (!) which concerns me a little bit (stay away from people!). He was fishing along a riparian green belt in the middle of the city. I’m glad he’s not rushing home (we got another foot of snow here in New Hampshire yesterday), but I’d prefer he loitered in Florida.
Another of the American Ospreys to have started her migration, is Belle. This three year-old female from Massachusetts spent her winter on the southern edge of the Amazon Rainforest and set-off on the long flight north on 14th March. The latest GPS data we have showed that by the evening of 16th March, she was north of the main Amazon trunk – already 350 miles north of her winter home.
The final WOW Osprey, North Fork Bob, meanwhile, was still at his wintering site in the Guianan Shield Highlands of southern Venezuela when we received the latest update from Rob Bierregaard who fitted Bob with his satellite transmitter in 2010. Like Ilmari, there is every chance that Bob will begin heading north during WOW. So watch this space.
We are very grateful to Rob Bierregaard for allowing us to track Bob during WOW. To find out more about Rob’s Osprey migration studies in the United States, check out his website.
So that’s it. That’s where they are all now. It will be fascinating to follow the birds as they head north over the next week. Keep checking the website to follow the birds on their incredible journeys.
Registering for WOW gives you access to a range of free teaching resources for primary and secondary schools and also the opportunity to contact other schools who are studying Ospreys. To find out more, click here.
By Tim on March 22, 2014
Next week is World Osprey Week and it looks like we could be celebrating it with the arrival of 30(05) at her nest close to Rutland Water. The latest satellite data shows that last night she roosted in central France, having flown 600km over the past two days. After roosting on the banks of the Rio Ucero in the Catille and Leon region of northern Spain on Wednesday evening, 30 probably caught a fish in the river soon after first light next morning. At 8am she was perched in a wooded area 14km further north, almost certainly eating breakfast. She began migrating just before 9am and maintained steady progress for the rest of the morning. By 1am she had flown 141 north-east and was passing through the eastern part of the Basque Country, not far from our friends at Montorre and Urretxindorra Schools who are participating in World Osprey Week. We do not have all of the satellite data for her afternoon’s flight, but she must have passed to the east of San Sebastian before crossing into France at around 4pm. She then continued on the same north-easterly heading past Bayonne before settling to roost in a wooded area to the north-west of Dax after a day’s flight of 304km. Next morning at 6am she was perched beside Etang d’Abesse, a small lake situated 1.5km from her roost site, presumably eating a fish.
30 didn’t hang around for long because by 10am she had already flown 74km and was heading purposefully north. She made a slight diversion to the north-east to avoid flying directly over Bordeaux and then continued onwards into the Poitou-Charentes region. By 5pm she had covered over 300km during the course of the day and was evidently looking for somewhere to roost. An hour later she was perched just over 1km to the north and she then settled for the night in a woodland clearing, 35km west of Poitiers.
30 is now just under 700km south of Rutland Water. She’s flown 622km in the past two days, and so if she maintains that kind of speed, she may well arrive back at her nest either late tomorrow or Monday morning. It is going to be an exciting few days!
We’ll have an update on the progress of the rest of the WOW Ospreys tomorrow, but in the meantime check out the Powerpoint that Lea Koskinen from Pornainen Comprehensive in Finland has put together with some amazing photos of fishing Ospreys. To see the Powerpoint, follow this link to the Pornainen Comprehensive WOW pages, then scroll to the bottom of the page and you’ll find the Powerpoint under ‘files to download’.
By Tim on March 20, 2014
Amid all the excitement of returning Ospreys at Rutland Water we have been eagerly awaiting the latest satellite data for 30(05). It has finally arrived and shows that she is making remarkable progress north. Non-GPS signals showed that at 10pm last night she was roosting close to the village of La Rasa some 130km north-east of Madrid.
The previous batch of GPS data had shown that on the night of 16th, 30 had roosted in an agricultural area just south of Agadir in Morocco. Since then she has flown more than 1400km in three days and left Africa behind.
Having roosted just south of Agadir, 30 resumed her migration at around 9:30am on 17th. The foreboding Atlas Mountains would have been prominent on the horizon as she headed north at 25kph. Two hours later she had reached the mountains and, as in the autumn, she skirted around their western edge; thereby avoiding the high peaks which lie further east.
By 3pm 30 was well clear of the mountains. She passed to the north-west of Marrakesh and continued on a north-easterly heading at altitudes of between 70 and 180 metres. By 7pm, when she settled to roost for the evening, she had flown 366km since leaving Agadir.
We do not know exactly what time 30 resumed her migration the next morning, but at 1pm she had already flown a staggering 260km and was nearing the north coast of Morocco. Three hours later she headed out to sea to the east of Tangier. Unlike most birds of prey, Ospreys make light work of the short crossing to southern Spain, and by 5pm she was already well north of Algeciras having passed 11km to the west of Gibraltar.
She evidently had the wind at her tail and she continued flying well into the evening, before eventually settling to roost amid the olive groves north of Ronda in Andalucia after a day’s flight of 510 km.
30 must have left at first light on 19th because by 9am she was already 83km north of her roost site. She was perched, and so may have been eating a fish that she had caught en route. Her stop could only been a brief one though, because at 10am she was another 25km further north. She continued to make good progress for the rest of the morning, passing to the west of Cordoba and then through the Sierra Morena mountains.
By 5pm she had already flown more than 350km and she had Madrid firmly in her sights. There was no sign that she was going to let up though, and she continued past the Spanish capital and onwards towards La Rioja. She was still flying when we received the final GPS point of the day at 8pm, but subsequent non-GPS data showed that two hours later she had finally stopped to roost a further 41km to the north-east in a wooded area just over 100km east of Valladolid. She certainly deserved a rest having flown over 550km – and almost three-quarters the length of Spain!
After a slow start to her migration, 30 has certainly made up for lost time. If the last three days are anything to go by, then when we receive the next batch of GPS data tomorrow evening or on Saturday morning, she may well be in northern France. Watch this space!
30 is one of the Ospreys we are satellite-tracking as part of World Osprey Week. To find out more, click here.
By Tim on March 19, 2014
We are now just a few days away from the start of World Osprey Week, and Osprey migration is in full-swing. Three birds have already returned to Rutland Water and many more will be heading north towards nests in Europe and North America.
We’re eagerly awaiting the next batch of GPS data from 30′s satellite transmitter – we should have an update tomorrow – but in the meantime, three of our other WOW Ospreys are now on the move.
Donovan, a male Osprey from New Hampshire in the United States began his northward migration from Venezuela a day before 30 set-off, and he continues to make good progress north. Iain MacLeod from Squam Lakes Natural Science Center takes up the story…
Donovan is making rapid progress through Cuba and by the end of Monday had reached the north coast about 50 miles east of Havana. He is likely to have made the 100 mile crossing to Florida yesterday. New Hampshire continues in the deep freeze. I was hiking on a lake on Sunday (yes, ON a lake) and the ice was two feet thick. We have had one of the coldest winters in living memory and so far in March we have barely had more than a couple days when the day time highs have been above freezing (!) so, slow down Donovan . . . nothing for you here!
Hot on the heels of Donovan, is another Osprey who is also heading for the east coast of North America. Belle is a three year-old female from Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. She spends each winter beside the Madeira River at the southern edge of the Amazon Rainforest. Click here to read more about her autumn migration.
After spending the winter in the rainforest (quite a contrast from North America!), Belle set-off on the long flight north on 14th March, following the course of the Rio Madeira for 100 miles before heading over to the Rio Abufari. By late on the 16th, she was north of the main Amazon trunk and already 350 miles north of her winter home. Having wintered much further south than Donovan, it will be fascinating to see how quickly she can make up time. Belle does not yet have a nest site of her own, but she’ll be eager to get back to Martha’s Vineyard as quickly as possible to try and find a mate.
Meanwhile, over the other side of the Atlantic, another female Osprey, CAT, has also started her spring journey. CAT was fitted with a satellite transmitter last summer by Flavio Monti as part of his PhD studies on Mediterranean Ospreys. CAT is one of a small number of Ospreys that nests on the coastal cliffs of Corsica, and like most of the population there, she made only a short migration to southern Spain. She spent her winter beside the Rio Guadiaro in Andalucuia, very close to the Scottish Osprey, Beatrice, who myself and Flavio actually saw in Spain in 2008.
Having set-off from her wintering site on Sunday, CAT flew the length of Spain in just three days. She reached the south of France yesterday evening and spent the the night just south of Perpignan. From there it is a relatively short flight west to Corsica – and she should have been helped by westerly winds that were forecast in the area today.
Don’t forget there is still time for your school to get involved in World Osprey Week. Registering is very simple, and once you’ve done so, you have completely free access to a range of resources for both primary and secondary schools that will help bring the amazing world of Ospreys alive for your students. All registered schools also have the opportunity to contact other schools on the Osprey migratory flyways.
By Tim on March 17, 2014
The most notable aspect of the first four days of 30′s spring migration from Senegal to Rutland, was that it was not that fast. She averaged just over 200 kilometres per day; much less that her average during her 12-day autumn migration. We’re not sure what caused her slow start, but strong headwinds are the most likely explanation. Whatever the case, the latest batch of data shows that she is now gone up several gears. The most recent GPS fix shows that at 11pm last night she was less than 50 kilometres south of Agadir, having covered an amazing 1083 kilometres in 48 hours! The Sahara is now behind her.
After roosting in the Akchar Desert in central Mauritania on Friday night, 30 made good progress on Saturday morning. By 1pm she was more than 100km further on, flying purposefully north at 44kph at an altitude of 169 metres. She continued migrating for the rest of the afternoon, making a subtle change in direction, to the north-east. She eventually settled to roost at dusk, close to the Western Sahara-Mauritania border after a day’s flight of more than 360km.
After a relatively slow start yesterday morning, 30 really picked up the pace shortly after midday. The wind was clearly behind her because at 1pm she was flying north at 62kph. An hour later she was another 70km further north and then, over the next four hours, she flew an incredible 264km at an altitude of around 250m, passing 30km to the west of where another of our satellite-tagged Ospreys, 09(98) sadly died in September 2012. What’s more, she was now following almost exactly the same path as her autumn migration. To see just how similar her route is to September, check out the tracking map by clicking here.
By early evening 30 would usually begin looking for a safe place to roost, but with the wind at her tail she continued flying after dark. By 10pm, when she finally settled to roost for the night, she had flown another 231km, bringing her day’s total to a remarkable 715km. She is well and truly back on track!
30′s roost yesterday evening was in an agricultural area south of Agadir, meaning that, with a bit of luck, she would have caught her fish for at least five days, this morning.
With the Sahara now behind her, things should get easier from now on. If she maintains a steady pace through Morocco, then she may well reach southern Spain on Wednesday. Watch this space!
By Tim on March 16, 2014
Its been an exciting day at Rutland Water today with the return of 03(97), otherwise known as ‘Mr Rutland’ to Site B. As far as we know he’s the first UK Osprey to return to its nest site this spring.
As one Osprey returned to Rutland Water, another was battling her way across the Sahara. As we reported a couple of days ago, 30(05) left her winter home on the Senegal coast on Tuesday. That morning she had followed her usual winter routine; flying down to her favourite perch on the beach, and then out to sea to catch breakfast. By 11am, though, she had decided that now was the time to leave – the hourly GPS fix from her satellite transmitter showed that she was heading north-east at 38kph. She maintained a similar heading for the rest of the day and by 7pm, when she settled to roost close to Reserve Sylvo Pastorale Des Six Forages in northern Senegal, she had covered 211 kilometres. Interestingly she had flown at a low altitude – generally less than 100 metres – throughout the day. This suggests that she may have been flying into a strong wind, which perhaps also explains her north-easterly, rather than northerly, heading?
Next morning, 30 began migrating again shortly before 10am, continuing on the same north-easterly course as the day before. By 2pm she had flown just under 100 kilimetres and soon crossed into Mauritania. She continued flying for another five hours, covering a further 140 kilometres on the same north-easterly heading. At 7pm she settled to roost close to the village of El Abde in the south of Maurtania, with the wilds of the Sahara lying in wait.
We do not have the complete set of GPS data for 30′s flight on Thursday, but we do know that by 9pm she was another 200 kilometres further north, now in the heart of the Sahara. That night she roosted on the sand with at least another 800 kilometres of desert still to negotiate. Although she had covered a similar distance to each of her first two days’ flying, her day’s migration was notable for the fact that she had maintained a much more northerly heading.This means that either the wind had changed direction, or that her north-easterly flight during her first two days, was intentional.
30 had a slow start on Friday morning, but by 11am was 24 kilometres north of her overnight desert roost, heading north-east at 23kph. Four hours later she had covered another 140 kilometres on the same north-easterly heading, again at low altitude. She was now making better progress and she continued in that vein for the remaining daylight hours, flying another 13o kilometres north, before settling to roost in the Akchar Desert, 71 kilometres south-east from the Western Sahara border. The image below, taken from Google Earth, gives an idea of how truly remote this area is.
We are now eagerly awaiting the next batch of GPS data, which should arrive tomorrow or Tuesday. By then she should have almost completed her crossing of the Sahara. Watch this space!
30 is one of the Ospreys we are following as part of World Osprey Week, and she’s not the only one of the WOW birds to have set-off on her spring migration. Over the other side of the Atlantic, Donovan is making equally steady progress north. Iain MacLeod, from the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center in New Hampshire, takes up the story…
Donovan has reached Cuba! He’s traveled more than 1,100 miles since he started his migration on March 10. He made an easy 400 mile crossing of the Caribbean Ocean and made landfall on the southern tip of the Dominican Republic by 6am on March 13. He rested for a couple hours and then crossed into Haiti. He spent the night near an area of dunes in western Haiti and pushed on the next morning and across to Cuba. He ended Friday (14th) along a river just south of the town of Guantanamo about 10 miles north of Guantanamo Bay.
We’ll update you with the progress of 30 and Donovan early next week, when we may well have news that another of the WOW Ospreys has started it’s northward journey. It is an exciting time!