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.

Only just begun

We have been checking 30’s satellite data regularly over the past few days, anticipating that she would soon be beginning her southward migration. We are very excited to tell you that she has now set off! A day earlier than last season, 30 left Rutland at 7am on Tuesday 30th August. Twelve hours later, she was 30 miles West of Le Mans in France! That means in her first day of migrating, she travelled a total distance of 520km / 323 miles!

The following map shows the route she took on day one. It’s amazing how directly south her trajectory is. She chose to cross the English Channel at its widest point, instead of heading to Dover and crossing where it’s narrowest, which is the route she usually favours when returning in spring.

30's journey day one south

30’s journey day one


We will receive the next batch of 30’s data over the next couple of days. I wonder where she will be by then…

Follow her on our interactive map!

In Manton Bay, we still have both adult ospreys! The dates they left last season are drawing nearer (2nd and 3rd September), so we may only have them around for another day or two. Hurry over to the Lyndon Reserve to see them before they go!

33 with Pike

33 with Pike (photo John Wright)


We also still have the long-tailed duck on the Lyndon Reserve, which can be seen from Teal hide.


Long-tailed duck (photo Paul Stammers)


30’s final furlong

More brilliant news arrived this morning – 30(05) is home! As you may know, recently we’ve had a few problems with the satellite-tracking website from which we obtain data on 30. Luckily, for the sake of our sanity, the new data came through this morning to tell us she is now home!

30 arrived back on the evening of Saturday 26th March, 16 days after leaving Senegal earlier this month. The last data point that we had for her was March 24th, at a roost site near the River Bresle. 30 sensibly stayed there for an extra day, presumably to avoid flying through bad weather. She left that spot at 08:00 on 26th March, and crossed the English Channel that morning.

During that day 30 continued on, and arrived back in Rutland at 18:00, having travelled 230 miles (370km) on her last day of migration.

30's final day of migration

30’s final day of migration


Here is a breakdown of 30’s 2016 spring migration. She travelled a total of 3,089 miles (4,971km). As you can see, she slowed down a bit towards the end, and did not travel so far each day. This was due to bad weather over the continent, and 30 did the sensible thing by taking it slowly, and staying put for a day on 25th March.

Date Distance (miles) Distance (km)
10th March 167 270
11th March 131 211
12th March 143 230
13th March 217 349
14th March 260 419
15th March 285 459
16th March 251 405
17th March 350 563
18th March 334 537
19th March 172 278
20th March 257 413
21st March 95 153
22nd March 106 171
23rd March 41 66
24th March 50 81
25th March
26th March 230 370
Total 3089 4975
30's entire spring 2016 migration

30’s entire spring 2016 migration


Click here to see 30’s journey on our special map.

Alternatively, click here to follow 30 using Google Earth.



Across the sea

Finally, we have a complete data set for the past five days of 30(05)’s migration! In the latest update, the last data point we had for 30 was her roost site on 16th March, just north of the Atlas mountains in Morocco. On 17th March, 30 continued on her northwards flight path and crossed the Strait of Gibraltar on Thursday afternoon – a crossing of 14 miles.


30’s route across the Strait of Gibraltar


That evening she roosted somewhere in the Sierra Morena mountains. The next day, she made her way steadily through Spain, and by that evening (18th March) she was already north of Madrid.

roost18th march

The next day she continued determinedly on and was on the north coast of Spain by 21:00, where she spent the night. On 20th March, 30 set off around 06:00 and undertook an 11 hour crossing of the Bay of Biscay! 30 usually skirts around the bay and hugs the coast, avoiding a long crossing. Only once before has she flown directly across the bay, and this was on last year’s autumn migration. Based on satellite-tracking data analysis, ospreys generally only cross the Bay of Biscay on their autumn journeys. However, this spring 30 decided to fly directly across, making landfall in France at 5pm on 20th March. This is almost certainly because she felt the need to make up time this year, having been held up by strong easterly winds over Spain, which would slow her progress and also make it difficult for her to stick to her usual course.

Bay of Biscay

30’s flight across the Bay of Biscay


You can see from the following map how all except one of 30’s previous migrations have skirted the bay and avoided going directly across it.

Other migrations


30 roosted 10 miles inland that evening, at a large lake which we posted a photograph of yesterday.


On 21st March 30 travelled 95 miles (153km) through France, and last night she was 162 miles (262km) south-west of Paris.

Roost 21st March

Here is a picture of 30’s journey so far.

Journey so far

It may only take her a couple more days to get home! We will keep you updated.

Click here to follow 30’s journey on our special map.

Alternatively, click here to follow 30 using Google Earth.



Over the mountains

The latest data from 30(05)’s tracker shows that she is now in Morocco, just north of the Atlas mountains! Before the new data came in this morning, the latest information we had for 30 was her roost site on 14th March (see map below, or click here). In the two days since then, she has travelled a further 536 miles (864km).

17th March progress

30 avoided most of Western Sahara, just skirting the corner of it, before entering Morocco. She traversed the Atlas mountains at an average altitude of 2,500m. Her position as of 8pm last night (16th March) was 6 miles (10km) north-east of Fquih Ben Salah.

Position 16th March

Here are some photographs that John Wright took from the aeroplane on the way to Africa this season – these are places that 30 has flown over on her journey home!

Lake close to 30's latest roost site

Lake close to 30’s latest roost site




Morocco – amazing land formation


Plane over the Sahara


Atlas mountains – 30 flew over these on Wednesday


Guelmim Es Semara


Ridge that 30 followed


In 2014, 30 took a total of 11 days to return to Rutland! This year, she is currently 236 miles (381km) further ahead of her position on this date in 2014. If she continues in the same vein, she could beat her record!

Here is a map comparing 30’s three northward migrations.

Blue = 2014

Green = 2015

Red = 2016

Comparison up to 16th march 2016

As you can see, 2014 and 2016 are fairly similar, but she took a rather different route in 2015. This was due largely to the weather – strong winds frequently blew her off course and she struggled to make progress. Over years of satellite-tracking studies and data analysis of migration patterns, we have learned that Ospreys generally, where possible, attempt to travel a similar route to previous years. However, things like weather can seriously affect the ability of the birds to do this, and they have to alter their direction accordingly.

30 has migrated a total of 20 times in her lifetime so far. We are confident that she knows exactly what she’s doing, and are looking forward to the day she arrives back in Rutland again – it might not be long!

Click here to follow 30’s journey on our special map.

Alternatively, click here to follow 30 using Google Earth.


Working my way back to you

For the past week or so, we have been checking the data from 30(05)’s satellite transmitter frequently, wondering whether she might set off early for home. Over the winter, we only receive data every five days, so it was an anxious wait for more information to arrive.

We can now tell you that 30 is on her way back! She left her perch on the beach in Senegal on Thursday 10th March, and travelled north-east on an almost straight trajectory. By 8pm she had covered 167 miles (270km) and was almost at the border of Mauritania.

30's roost site on 10th March

30’s roost site on 10th March


Next morning, 30 set out at 8am, still heading north-east. During the day she covered a distance of 131 miles (211km), into the Trarza desert, where she managed to find a safe place to roost. On the morning of 12th March, 30 shifted course slightly to head in a more northerly direction, up through the Akchar desert towards Western Sahara. She travelled 143 miles (230km) before stopping to roost at 7pm.

Over the next two days, 30 travelled a further 477 miles (768km) and the last data point we have from her tracker is for the evening of 14th March when she stopped to roost right on the border between Mauritania and the Western Sahara.

30's journey so far

30’s journey so far


It’s so exciting to know that she is on her way! Even more so when we can follow her progress over each step of her long journey. This first step of 30’s northwards journey is always fairly slow and steady, due to the unforgiving environment she has to travel through e.g. lots of hot, sandy desert with not many places to fish. Once she is clear of all the desert and begins to head through Morocco and on towards the Mediterranean, her journey will get easier, just so long as the weather does not hinder her, as it did last March.

Now that it is mid-March, we expect to receive data on 30’s movements on a more regular basis. Keep your eyes on the website – we will update the news just as soon as we have any!

Click here to follow 30’s journey on our special map.

Alternatively, click here to follow 30 using Google Earth.