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.

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!



30 on her patch of beach



She’s there!

30(05) has made it to her wintering grounds! The data took its time in coming through, but we now have it and we know that she arrived at her Senegalese beach at 10:00 on 11th September!


30’s final leg


30 was motoring on 10th September, travelling 244 miles / 393 km, and bypassing the lake we thought she might stop at! She made it to the coast at 7pm that evening, and roosted there. The next morning she set off at 07:00 and travelled the final 26 miles / 43 km to her spot on the beach!



Here is a breakdown of her autumn migration 2016. It took her 13 days, and she covered a total of 2893 miles / 4659 km.

Date Miles Km
30th Aug 323 520
31st Aug 298 480
1st Sept 298 480
2nd Sept 247 398
3rd Sept 275 442
4th Sept 247 398
5th Sept 177 284
6th Sept 269 433
7th Sept 161 259
8th Sept 212 342
9th Sept 116 187
10th Sept 244 393
11th Sept 26 43
Total 2893 4659

Here is a picture of 30’s entire journey this autumn. Look how direct her route is! What an amazing migration – ospreys are truly awe-inspiring creatures!



Well done 30! We hope to see her on her beach sometime in January…




Almost there

We have received more data for 30(05)! Contrary to my optimistic estimation that she would be at her wintering grounds by now, she’s not! She’s currently still making steady progress over the Sahara. Over the past two days she has covered 328 miles / 529 km, and is now in Mauritania.


30’s roost site 9th September


Crossing the Sahara is always the toughest part of an osprey’s migration. It is one of the hottest regions in the world, and it’s also incredibly dry, dusty and windy. 30 always slows down here, and you can see that her path wavers a bit in the map above, which could be due to the wind. The strong desert winds have the ability not only to alter the flight path of migrating birds, but to change the landscape, creating sand and rock formations that, conveniently, 30 can use to navigate. These geographical features will also affect her speed and altitude. On 8th September, she was flying at an average altitude of 1400m, and her average speed was 28kph. However, she flew at a much lower altitude on 9th September, averaging 482m. Her speed remained quite constant at around 23kph.


Land formations in the desert


30 often stops at the lake just south of the Mauritania-Senegal border, near St Louis, to rest and refuel after her desert crossing. We’ll soon see if she does that this season!


The lake where 30 often stops





Final farewell

It has finally happened – Manton Bay is devoid of ospreys. After spending yesterday alone in the bay, 33 set off on his migration to his wintering grounds this morning at around 10:00. We are sad to see them go, as always, and it was great that the two adults stayed for as long as they did! We have had a fantastic season this year, with 33 and Maya being the stars of our show as always in Manton Bay. The three chicks they raised this year bring Maya’s total to 17 over the six years she has bred! The other successful nests around the area raised 12 young, which means this year’s total is a whopping 15 chicks from seven nests. This is the same number as last season, and so equals the best year we’ve ever had! This season we very nearly had an eighth nest – Lagoon Four – and there were also several unattached males in the area, so we are eager to see what happens next year!

33 and Maya on the camera perch

Farewell 33 and Maya


Unfortunately we can’t follow Maya and 33 on their journeys, but we can follow 30(05)! 30 has now been migrating for ten days, and has covered a total of 2295 miles / 3694 km since leaving Rutland. In the past two days since we received data, she has travelled 430 miles / 692 km through the Sahara. You can see her latest position in the image below.


30’s position at 7pm on 7th September


After passing through Morocco in three days, 30 travelled over the Guelmim-es-Semara region, which boasts a brilliant landscape of sculptured ridges, as you can see in the images below. She flew over the same area last season. 




Zoomed in


30 roosted in the middle of the desert last night, and today will have continued on her southwards trajectory. She is now well on her way to Senegal – there are only 540 miles / 869 km left to go!

I wonder where she will be when we next receive data…? She might even be there, on her perch on the beach…

30 photographed on the beach by John Wright last winter