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.

Racing through the desert

Our satellite-tagged Osprey, 30(05), has been making superb progress on her autumn migration this season. She left Rutland on 31st August, and just five days later she was roosting near Agadir in Morocco, at the western tip of the Haut Atlas Mountains. You can see from the picture below how she deliberately skirted the edge of the mountains and went around them, then came back eastwards and picked up the same bearing again the next day.

Atlas mountains3

30 jinked around the Atlas mountains


30 set off on 5th September at 6am, and headed onwards through the desert. This is the hardest part of an Osprey’s migration. There is little to no chance of finding anywhere to stop and fish during the crossing of the desert, which, along with the heat and heat haze, makes life difficult for Ospreys. Sahara translates in Arabic as “the Greatest Desert”, and it is indeed the largest hot desert in the world. 30, and other Ospreys, must fly over roughly 1,000 miles of it (1,600km).

On that day, 30 travelled 418 km (260 miles), over the Guelmim-Es Semara region and into the Western Sahara. After flying for 14 hours, she roosted in the middle of a very impressive landscape of dried up, probably ancient river beds, with fossilised remnants of what lay before, many years ago.

The amazing rock formations in the desert, where 30 roosted

The amazing rock formations in the desert, where 30 roosted


The next day, at 7am, 30 was off again, and she covered a total distance of 305 km (189 miles), flying at an average altitude of 784m. She stopped to roost at 7pm, smack in the middle of the Western Sahara.

30's journey, 5th and 6th September

30’s journey, 5th and 6th September


30 certainly is a very experienced migrator, and knows exactly what she’s doing and where she’s going. She’s almost there, too – there is only 1,100km (700 miles) left to go! We should have more data in the next couple of days – it will be very interesting to find out how much further she has gone!

Click here to follow 30’s journey on our special map (2015’s autumn migration is the blue line).

Alternatively, click here to follow 30 using Google Earth.


Travelling on

The first batch of data from 30(05)’s transmitter, revealed by Tim yesterday, demonstrates just how far an Osprey can travel when she sets her mind to it! 30’s autumn migration this season looks set to be a record. She is currently ahead of where she was last year by a day.

The last data we had was 30’s roost site of 2nd September, in northern Andalucia. On 3rd September, she began her day’s flight at 6am, and headed towards the southern coast of Spain. She crossed the Mediterranean to the east of the straits of Gibraltar in the afternoon, just as she did last year, and she made landfall at 3pm. She then travelled another 179km (111 miles) over the next five hours, to her roost site 48km (29 miles) north-east of Kenitra. That day, she migrated a total of 411km (255 miles).

The next morning (4th September) 30 set off at around 6am again, and travelled 572km (355miles) south-west through Morocco, on an almost straight trajectory, as you can see from the map below.

30's journey 3rd and 4th September 2015

30’s journey 3rd and 4th September 2015


Tim mentioned yesterday how similar 30’s current migration is to last year’s, and you can see from the map below how this continues to be the case. The red line is last year’s route, and the green one is this year’s. On 4th September, her roost site was in a spot very close to where she roosted on 5th September last year!

Look how similar this year's path is to last year - red line = 2014, green = 2015

Look how similar this year’s path is to last year – red line = 2014, green line = 2015


Migration is truly mind-blowing, and it’s amazing how Ospreys can remember the way they went and stick to the same route. They clearly have incredible memories, and aim to follow a similar path each year, using the same landmarks to guide them. Factors such as the weather, particularly strong winds, can of course push the birds off-course, but it’s incredible the way they re-adjust and alter their flight path accordingly, as 30 did on the first leg of her journey.

30 is now over halfway to her destination, and she only set off six days ago! So far, she has travelled a total of 2,711km, (1,684 miles) and she only has about another 1,810km (1,125 miles) to go. I wonder where she will be when the next batch of data comes through… Keep an eye on the website to find out!

Don’t forget that you can follow 30’s migration on your own copy of Google Earth by following these simple instructions.

Even though the Ospreys have left Manton Bay, the Lyndon Visitor Centre and Nature Reserve will still be open from 9am-5pm until Sunday 13th September.


Creatures of habit

It’s been a strange day at Lyndon today. As you’ll probably have guessed if you have been watching the webcam, Manton Bay is now devoid of Ospreys. As Kayleigh reported earlier in the week, S3 headed south on Wednesday morning and was quickly followed by 33 that lunchtime. With all of her family heading south, Maya followed suit yesterday morning. She headed east from Manton Bay shortly after 10am and hasn’t been seen since. It all means that there is a rather empty feel to Rutland Water; Manton Bay is full of life with waders such as Ruff and Greenshank patrolling the shoreline and flocks of Gadwall and Teal building-up, but it just isn’t the same without the Osprey family. Having watched their every move for the past five months, it seems strange that we don’t know where they are now. There is every chance, though, that all of the family will have now crossed the English Channel into France. We wish them well on their incredible journey. We should also say a huge thank you to Kayleigh for her wonderful blogs this summer.

We may not know where the Manton Bay family are, but there is one Rutland Osprey that we can follow throughout the autumn and winter. The latest data from her satellite transmitter shows that by 5pm on Wednesday evening, 30(05) had reached Andalucia in southern Spain.

With the first full batch of migration data now in, we know that 30 left her nest shortly after 9am on Monday morning (31st August). Remarkably this was exactly the same as autumn 2014; almost to the minute. The weather on Monday was poor for migration (rain and low cloud) but it did not stop this experienced navigator setting out on her tenth autumn migration. During the course of the morning 30 made steady progress south, and by 1pm she was already south of Bath. An easterly wind resulted in her drifting further to the west than autumn 2014, but by the time she set-off across the English Channel from Portland Bill she had begun to compensate for this westerly drift. At 3pm she was half way across the channel, 85 kilomteres west of the corresponding position (at exactly the same time) on her 2014 journey. She skirted to the east of the Channel Islands and reached the Normandy coast at 5pm; three hours after passing Portland Bill. She continued flying until 8pm when she was perched close to a lake in the town of Craon in Pays de la Loire. She had flown just under 600km from Rutland Water and, although we do not know exactly where she roosted, she was now just 25km west of her 2014 flight path.

30's first day of migration was very similar to her flight on the same day in 2014

30’s first day of migration was very similar to her flight on the same day in 2014

30 must have flown further south on the night of 31st August because by 7am next morning she was 170km further south-west, just to the north of La Rochelle. The weather must have been good for migration because she maintained the same south-westerly heading over Ile de Re and then out across the Bay of Biscay. Ospreys are powerful flyers and a flight across the open sea is not the barrier it is to other species – such as Honey Buzzards – which are far more reliant on thermals to aid their journey. By 2pm 30 had completed a 350km flight across the bay of Biscay at altitudes ranging between 200 and 500 metres. Excitingly, she made landfall over the Urdaibai Estuary, where Roy Dennis has translocated Scottish Ospreys for the past three summers. Our friends at the Urdaibai Bird Center have also been closely involved in the Osprey Flyways Project and World Osprey Week, so it was exciting that 30 paid them a (brief) visit!

30 flew 350km across the Bay of Biscay before arriving at the Urdaibai estuary

30 flew 350km across the Bay of Biscay before arriving at the Urdaibai estuary

Unai Egia, the music teacher at Urretxindorra school, situated a few kilomoetres from Urdaibai, wrote a wonderful song about Osprey migration two years ago. Click here to watch the music video (and read the lyrics) of the song, performed by students at Montorre and Urretxindorra schools. The song seems very apt given 30’s flight this year.

Urdaibai would have been an excellent place for 30 to rest for a few hours, but she was clearly determined to continue her migration. During the course of the afternoon and early evening she flew another 311km before eventually settling to roost in a forested area 45km south of Valladolid. During the course of her day’s flight she had covered a staggering 831km.

By first light next morning 30 had moved into open field just over 1km from her roost site, and may even have caught a fish in nearby Lavajo Rabiosa. By 9am, though, she was already 20km south and, like the previous day, clearly determined to press on. By 2pm she had covered 148 kilometres at altitudes of up to 2700 metres. Conditions must have been good for migration because she flew another 149 kilomteres in the next three hours; reaching northern Andalucia at 5pm, with the Sierra Morena mountains prominent on the horizon. This meant that, less than 60 hours after leaving her nest site, 30 had flown an amazing 1728km.

30 flew over 1700km on her first three days of migration. Red line is her 2014 flight for comparison.

30 flew over 1700km on her first three days of migration. The red line is her 2014 flight for comparison.

30’s transmitter is on a three day cycle, so we should receive the next batch of data over the weekend. If the first three days of migration are anything to go by, she should be flying south through Morocco by now. Watch out for an update in the next few days.

Don’t forget that you can follow 30’s migration on your own copy of Google Earth by following these simple instructions. 

Time to go

We have some exciting news – 30(05), our satellite-tracked female, has begun her autumn migration! She set off on Monday 31st August, at roughly 10:00, and in just two days is already in Spain! Her location as of 12:00 today was roughly 75 miles (120km) west of Madrid. We will have more detailed information to share at the weekend, including maps, but for now it’s great to know she’s on her way!

30 is a very well-known Osprey, due to our ability to follow her migrations. It was thanks to the data from her tracker that some of the team were able to locate 30 on her wintering grounds last year in Senegal. 30 was unfortunate last year and the year before, in that she did not manage to find a mate and breed, after the failure of her previous partner to return. We were very happy this season that 30 found a new partner and successfully raised two chicks. In fact, it was fitting that 30 was the parent of the 100th Rutland chick! 

30(05) 30(05)'s chicks                                   30(05)                                                              30(05)’s chicks


Don’t forget, you can join us to celebrate the fledging of 30’s child by clicking here!

In Manton Bay, the latest news is that S3 has gone! She has not been seen 08:00 this morning. The weather has been pretty reasonable today, with a good north-westerly wind – an ideal day to begin a southward migration. 33 and Maya remained in the bay together all morning, then at 12:00, 33 disappeared. We will have to wait and see if he returns this evening. If he doesn’t, then Maya is the last remaining Manton Bay Osprey of 2015.

Keep your eyes on the news to find out what happens! There is still time to visit the Lyndon Centre before the last Osprey leaves!

S3 on the nest - what a beautiful scene

The last picture of S3




Comfort in Sound

Today was nothing short of amazing. The weather was akin to that of a day in mid-summer, and we had over 600 visitors coming to the Lyndon Centre! It was a brilliant day, it’s fantastic to have the centre and hides buzzing with people enjoying the reserve and the Ospreys.

Before all that happened, though, we ran a Dawn Chorus Guided Walk. The walk began at 5am, and it included a delicious breakfast! Over 30 people turned out for the event, and the weather was perfect for it. As usual, nature did not let us down. The air was filled with a cacophony of sound, a beautiful harmonious melody, that rang out from everywhere around us. There were all the usual suspects – blackbirds, wrens, robins and tits; willow warblers, chiffchaffs, blackcaps and garden warblers; whitethroats and dunnocks, plus a treecreeper and a distant cuckoo!

We didn’t forget the Ospreys though, and here’s a lovely early morning sneak peek at what goes on on the Osprey nest when it’s still dark!

The Osprey nest at 5am

The Osprey nest at 5am


The Ospreys have done us proud once again today. They are still patiently incubating, and, just as they did last week, both birds seem to like it so much that they both want to do it at the same time!

33 loves to incubate

“You take two and I’ll do the other one”


33 seems to love incubating so much that, occasionally, he has been seen to physically push Maya off the eggs! She doesn’t mind, though, and enjoys stretching her wings, sitting on the T-perch preening or chasing other birds, usually geese, but sometimes buzzards as she did today! Here’s a clip of the Osprey pair changing over on the nest.


33 brought in three fish today, one at 06:30, one at 15:00 and one at 18:20.

33's fish

33’s fish

Maya goes for the fish

Maya goes for the fish

Maya takes the fish

Maya takes the fish


It’s all going really well at our other nest sites, too. This season, we have all the breeding birds back from last year, plus the Manton Bay nest which is going like clockwork, thankfully! But that is not all we have this season…

It is fantastic to be able to announce that 28(10), the good-natured, bendy-winged sweetheart who was chased off Manton Bay last year, has found a nest and a partner! He has paired up at a new site with female 2F(12), who returned for the first time last year.




What of our WOW Osprey, 30(05)? Several people have asked after our much-loved satellite-tagged female. 30 has been unlucky these past two years, having not been able to breed since the failure of her former partner, 08(01), to return in 2013. I am happy to tell you, and you’ll all be pleased to hear, that she has found herself a mate! 30 has paired up this year on a new nest site with 32(11), a Manton Bay fledgling.

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



This is fabulous news, and is testament to how well the project is developing, with new birds getting the chance to breed. We hope it goes well for our two new pairs, and the six others of course. We will know later in the season just how successful a year this has been, but it looks to be the best we have ever had, and we could well be saying hello to our 100th chick later in the year!

A nice view of a perfect pair

A nice view of a perfect pair