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Browse: Home / 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.
By Michelle on September 7, 2012
Since my report yesterday the rest of 09′s data has come through and not only can we fill in the gaps from the beginning of his journey from Rutland, but we’ve also got an extra few hours of data. 09 has made incredible progess and only 34 hours after leaving his roost site on Wednesday morning he successfully crossed the Bay of Biscay and has reached Northern Spain.
The last time John Wright saw 09 in Rutland was on Tuesday, 4th September, as he bathed on Lagoon 4 on the eve of his 3000 mile journey.
09 decided that it was time to leave at 9am the following morning, Wednesday 5th September, and after flying due south at 3400 feet for two hours he was already near Bedford. In the next leg 09 set a new flight speed record, an incredible 55mph! Helped along by a northerly wind he had soon reached the south coast and left the shores of England not far from Bognor Regis just before 2pm. It’s amazing what a difference the weather makes. Last year when 09 crossed the English Channel he flew very low above the sea, presumably to avoid the fog, but this time he was 1150 feet above the water and with a speed of 44mph he soon made land close to Bayeux just before 5pm. After the first eight hours of migration, 09 had covered 250 miles.
For an yesterday’s account of 09′s journey through France, click here. In short, 09 continued south-west and decided to roost 130 miles inland. The next morning, Thursday 6th, he had covered 64 miles in four hours when he reached the west coast. At 3pm he was 700 feet above the Bay of Biscay and after maintaining a speed of 44mph he reached Northern Spain at 7pm yesterday evening. The last data point shows 09 just 37 miles west of Santander where he found a place to rest in the high hills just outside the Picos de Europa National Park.
It’s safe to say that 09 has had perfect weather for the start of his migration. As he headed south through England he was helped by a northerly wind and then he appeared to follow it when he reached France and the wind shifted to a south-westerly. The start of his migration this year is distinctly different from the route he took in 2011, see photos below. Last year 09 travelled through the centre of France and had many stops along the way but this time he skirted over the western corner and headed straight over the Bay of Biscay. This more direct route is most likely a result of better weather conditions.
In 2011 it took 09 four days to get as far south as he is now but this time he has travelled 700 miles in just 34 hours. Watch out Morocco, the Master Migrator is on his way!
By Michelle on September 6, 2012
It’s been a couple of days since 09 was last seen in Rutland so when the first batch of satellite data came through we expected him to be on his way to his wintering site in Senegal. After eagerly checking the data all day when it finally came through I nearly fell off my chair! 09 certainly is well on his way…
Some of the data is yet to come through so the first location we have for 09 after leaving Rutland is in Northern France. Between 5pm on Tuesday and the same time yesterday he had flown 250 miles and was nine miles south of Bayeux. At just over 2000 feet he was flying south-west at a speed of 43 mph and he was showing no signs of stopping. By 7pm 09 was in Brittany, just 20 miles away from Renne, and he maintained his speed and altitude as he continued south. He decided to roost next to a river near La Gommerais, a small village 10 miles south-west of Châteaubriant.
At 11am this morning 09 had passed Nantes at an altitude of just over 500 feet and he was travelling at a leisurely 31 mph. By 1pm he had reached the west coast of France and had flown over Saint-Jean-de-Monts, a town renowned for it’s sandy beaches.
I’m sure 09 was tempted to stop but he decided to continue south and by 3pm this afternoon he was out in the middle of the Bay of Biscay, just 100 miles north of Spain.
It will be a few days before we can find out more about 09′s progress but hopefully we’ll soon get the full batch of data so we can see how he made his way through England and across the Channel. Our Google Earth page will also be updated shortly. In the meantime at least we know that he is safely on his way.
By Tim on September 5, 2012
With the Manton Bay family all heading south, the last Osprey left in Rutland is 09(98). Last year he started his migration on 2nd September, but he appears in no hurry to leave this year, despite the fact that its now two weeks since his family departed. Yesterday evening he was perched on Lagoon 4 - which has become a favourite perching spot recently.
As soon as 09 does leave, we’ll be posting regular updates on his migration. His satellite transmitter is on a three day transmission cycle with the next batch of data due in tomorrow. I wonder if he will still be in Rutland? Watch this space.
By Tim on August 28, 2012
Last year 09(98) left Rutland on 2nd September, but with his family already heading south, he could leave earlier this year. With this in mind we’re checking his satellite data a couple of times each day; and once he does leave, we’ll be posting daily updates on the website.
In the meantime, it has been fascinating to follow his daily movements now that he doesn’t have a family to feed. Since his offspring left the weekend before last, 09 has spent very little time at Site N. Instead he has roosted up to seven miles away and visited several of the vacant nest sites in the Rutland Water area. In fact his movements are now very reminiscent of the kind of thing we were seeing last summer, when he wasn’t breeding. Perhaps he is enjoying rekindling his bachelor lifestyle again?
It is this information on the birds daily movements around Rutland that make the satellite tracking data so useful. It goes without saying that it is fantastic to be able to follow their migration, but to be able chart an indivdual’s local movements is extremely valuable too. For this reason we’re very grateful to the East Midlands branch of the Hawk and Owl Trust who donated £500 last week to help cover the costs of receving the satellite-tracking data. Here is a photo of me receiving the cheque from Treasurer Simon Dudhill (left) and Chairman Geoff Williamson (right). Thanks very much guys!
The Hawk and Owl Trust East Midlands Group has started putting together a series of future talks and events for the coming year, with talks in September and October already arranged. The group holds the majority of those talks at Birdwatching Centre at Egleton. If you are interested in being included on their mailing list for information on all those events then please contact the group on firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website.
By Tim on August 23, 2012
All four of the Manton Bay family are present again today, but that’s not the case at all of the Rutland nests.
03(97)’s unringed mate at Site B left in early August, and now two of her offspring are on the move too. 1F and 2F must have set off on migration over the weekend, because neither bird has been seen since. As a result, its now not unusual for Site B to be devoid of Ospreys during the day. There is usually one juvenile who lingers longer than its siblings, though, and this year it is 3F. The young female (we initially thought she was a male – but are now confident she’s a female) continues to return to the nest each evening and, as you would expect of an experienced breeding Ospreys, 03(97) is still providing fish for her. Quite how long she will stay,we’re not sure, but with poor weather forecast for the next few days, she may remain into the early part of next week.
Elsewhere, 09(98)’s first-ever family have also set out on migration. Like the Site B youngsters, 0J and 0F departed over the weekend; and it’s amazing to think that they could already be in France. Before setting off on their first extremely hazardous flight south, the two Site N chicks paid a visit to Manton Bay. Here are a couple of photos taken by John Wright at the end of last week.
With his two chicks and mate heading south (5N(04) also left at the weekend), 09 himself could leave any day. Thanks to his satellite transmitter we’ll be able to follow his 3000 mile flight to Senegal in incredible detail – and will be providing daily updates on his progress as he flies south. It will be really interesting to see how how this autumn’s journey compares to last year. One thing we can be sure of, is that he’ll be heading for the same stretch of Senegalese coastline as last winter.
Unlike their compatriots at Site B and Site N, the Manton Bay juveniles seem content to stay put for the time being. The two juveniles are providing great views for visitors to Waderscrape and Shallow Water hides at Lyndon at the moment. Here are a couple of photos of 9F playing in the wind earlier this week.
We enjoyed some superb Osprey Cruises over the Birdfair weekend, and we still have some places left for the last cruise of the season, which takes place on Saturday. So if you fancy one last Osprey-fix this summer, you can book online here.
By Tim on August 8, 2012
If you’ve been on one of our Osprey cruises this year, there’s a good chance you’ll have seen 09(98). 09′s satellite transmitter continues to provide a fascinating insight into his fishing habits and it shows that he is currently fishing in the reservoir (as well as several other smaller lakes and ponds) at least twice a day.
Like the juveniles at our other nests, 09′s two youngsters, 0F and 0J, are now flying well and are spending prolonged periods away from the Site N nest (09′s nest on private land). Having said that, they are quick to return whenever they’re hungry and yesterday all four of the family were perched on one of the T perches close to the nest. It certainly made for a great family portait.
If you’re coming to the Birdfair on Saturday 18th and fancy seeing 09 in action, why not come on our early morning Osprey Cruise? There’s a great chance of seeing him or one of the other birds fishing and we’ll be joined on the boat by the One Show’s wildlife expert, Mike Dilger. The cruise sets sail from Whitwell Harbour at 6:30am and there are still tickets available, so if you would like to come along, please phone the Birdfair Office on 01572 771079 or you can book online, by clicking here. It should be a great morning!
By Michelle on July 29, 2012
Following Lizzie’s report yesterday about 12(10)’s return to Rutland we were amazed to receive a call from Janine, a member of the Dyfi Osprey Project team, to tell us that 12(10) was back on the Dyfi nest this morning! We quickly went to look at the live streaming and there she was, sitting next to Ceulan. At first the young Dyfi chick wasn’t really sure about what was happening and just kept looking at the two year-old female but after a while he didn’t look too alarmed. 12(10) made herself at home and even started moving sticks around the nest but she soon flew off when Nora returned. It will be interesting to see what she does over the next few days. Will she stay in Wales or will we see her again in Rutland? Only time will tell.
After an exciting start it was time to go over to Egleton for the first Birdfair volunteers meeting. It was a great opportunity for everyone to get together and hear about the conservation project that will be supported by Birdfair this year.
The projects are suggested and managed through the BirdLife International Partnership that is currently working within the three main global flyways to conserve migratory birds. The 24th Birdfair to be held at Rutland Water Nature Reserve will be supporting the East Asian-Australasian Flyway that spans East Asia, from Siberia to Australasia, and is the most poorly known of the world’s migration routes. For more information click here. Described as the birdwatcher’s Glastonbury, the British Birdwatching Fair encompasses the whole spectrum of the birdwatching industry whilst at the same time supporting global bird conservation so it is definitely worth a visit. Over the weekend (August 17th to 19th) there will be four celebrity Wildlife Cruises on the Rutland Belle where there will be a member of the Osprey Project team alongside Simon King, Mike Dilger or Johnny Kingdom looking out for Ospreys. If yesterday’s cruise was anything to go by they are not to be missed! We were treated to fantastic views of 09(98), easily identified by his satellite transmitter, fishing above the sailing club as well as all four Ospreys in Manton Bay.
The Celebrity cruises are booking up fast so have a look at the Birdfair website to book your place. If you are unable to visit Rutland during the Birdfair weekend we still have places on our regular Osprey cruises throughout the whole of August, for more information click here.
By Tim on July 11, 2012
If they get the opportunity, young male Ospreys will breed as early as four years of age. 03(97) is a good example. He first returned to Rutland as a two-year-old in 1999. He built the nest that we now refer to as Site B a year later and then raised a single chick with an unringed (presumably Scottish) female the next summer. Since then (including this year) 03 has gone on to rear a total of 27 chicks with three different females.
Not all of the Rutland Ospreys, though, have enjoyed the same level of success. 09(98) was translocated to Rutland Water in 1998 – a year after 03. He returned for the first time two years later, but a further twelve summers passed before he finally paired up with a female; 5N(04) at Site N.
Knowing him so well and having followed his 6000 mile return migration to Senegal this winter, it was great to see him breeding for the first time this year. It was especially exciting to be at the nest a few weeks ago, when the first chick hatched.
As soon as their chicks hatch, adult male Ospreys have to work very hard to keep up with the insatiable appetites of their chicks. We were particularly interested to see how 09 would react to having hungry chicks to feed – it was something he had never faced before. Having equipped him with a satellite transmitter last year we were interested to see how his fishing habits would change with this increasing demand; the great thing with the new GPS transmitters is that they provide data every hour, thereby enabling us to build-up a detailed picture of each bird’s movements.
As we expected, 09 has generally favoured Rutland Water for fishing, but has visited a number of other sites too. One notable feature of his daily fishing movements, is that he rarely visits the same site on successive fishing trips. A quick look at the last ten days shows that he has visited at least five different sites, away from Rutland Water, but none more than five times. This kind of information is of great conservation value; not least because it will help us alleviate any fears fishing lake owners may have of the potential impact of breeding Ospreys. Even when they have chicks, 09’s data suggests that the birds will never have a major impact on fish stocks.
Without the aid of a camera looking into the Site N nest, it was a couple of weeks before we knew how many chicks were in there. Eventually it was possible to make out the heads of two chicks – a great outcome given that 09 has never bred before. In the intervening six weeks the two chicks have developed well and at the end of last week we visited Site N to ring them.
It was immediately apparent that both chicks were in excellent condition and this was confirmed when we weighed them. Both weighed 1510g – an excellent weigh for male chicks, which their head structure and bill size suggested they were. Having watched 09’s repeated failed attempts to attract a mate and breed each summer since 2000, it was a real privilege and very memorable to see his first two offspring close up.
Having ringed the chicks with blue colour rings on their right legs – OF and OJ – we put them back in the nest. As we were driving away 09 arrived with a fish and landed on the nest with the rest of his family. It seemed a very fitting end to the evening.
By Michelle on July 2, 2012
On Thursday June 28th, John saw the young female who was the SIXTH Osprey from the class of 2010 to return to the UK. This female is the fourth two-year old to return to Rutland for the first time this year and John only saw a fleeting glimpse so he wasn’t sure whether she was 25(10) or 26(10). I’m thrilled to say that she paid a visit to the reserve today and we can now confirm that she is 25(10). She fledged from Site O in 2010 and is AW’s daughter. For more information about AW click here. She is likely to spend the summer exploring the area but hopefully in the next few years she will follow in the footsteps of her grandfather, ‘Mr Rutland’ 03(97), and return to raise chicks of her own.
By Tim on May 24, 2012
As you’ll know if you’ve been watching the webcam today, we’re still waiting for an egg to hatch in the Manton Bay nest. The birds have now been incubating for 39 days; thereby confirming that the first egg the female laid was indeed the ‘dud’ that became buried in the nest cup earlier this month. This means that, if our calculations are correct, the ‘second’ egg should hatch tomorrow or Saturday. The female has certainly been very restless today – a sure sign that hatching is imminent. Keep watching that webcam!
While the wait continues at Manton Bay, we have some fantastic news from Site N. Having been equipped with a satellite transmitter last summer, thousands of people were able to follow 09(98)’s spring migration from Senegal to Rutland this March. His 3000 mile journey, during which he survived a night time flight in gale force winds over the Atlantic, proved captivating. We know that the birds make these epic journeys each spring, but being able to follow 09′s flight in such amazing detail really brought his migration to life.
Having arrived in Rutland on 28th March, 09 settled down to breed with 5N(04) – the female he paired up with last summer following the sad loss of 5N’s mate, 08(97). It was 08′s disappearance in suspicious circumstances, coupled with the loss of two other male birds the previous spring, that identified the need for us to use this high-tech tracking to monitor our breeding males. Thanks to generous donations from project supporters, we were able to do just that; Roy Dennis came down to help us tag 09 and AW(06) last June. As we hoped, the transmitters have provided us with an invaluable insight into the birds’ fishing habits in Rutland and, as sadly demonstrated by AW in the Ivory Coast this winter, if they come to grief, we know where.
It is not only the fact that 09 is satellite-tagged that makes the fact he is breeding this year so significant. Having been translocated to Rutland Water in 1998, 09 had became something of a perennial bachelor – returning to Rutland each spring from 2000 onwards, but never finding a mate. Since most male Ospreys first breed when they are between four and seven years old, we began to wonder if 09 would ever find a mate of his own. This made his return this spring – and specifically the fact he paired up with 5N – all the more exciting; we knew that, after fourteen years, he would finally have a chance of rearing young for the first time.
As hoped 5N laid the first egg at Site N (a nest on private land) on 15th April and the subsequent five-and-a-half weeks of incubation passed without drama.
Like the Manton Bay nest, we knew that the first chick should hatch this week and, right on cue, 5N appeared very restless for much of yesterday; a sign that something may have been happening. By 5pm this evening we were almost certain that a chick had hatched and just needed 09 to deliver a fish to the nest, to be sure. After some fairly vociferous food-begging from 5N, he headed off fishing at 5:45 and returned three-quarters of an hour later with a Bream.
Rather than eating any of the fish himself, 09 delivered it straight to the nest. This would usually prompt a change-over in incubation duties. Not this time though. 5N took the fish from her mate, ate a small amount herself and then very delicately offered a tiny morsel down in to the nest – confirmation that the first chick had hatched. All the while 09 was perched on the side of the nest looking on intently. After fourteen years and 75,000 miles of migration between Rutland and Senegal, he finally had a chick of his own. It is moments like this that make all our years of hard work at Rutland Water, worthwhile. 1998 was my second year on the project, meaning I have known 09 for all but a few months of his life. Having watched his repeated failed attempts to breed and then followed his amazing migration from Senegal, watching him looking down into the nest at his first newly-hatched chick was a very special moment indeed.
Although we do not know how many eggs are in the nest, 09 is likely to increase his fishing effort now his first chick has hatched. We’ll be able to monitor every fishing trip using his satellite transmitter and it will be fascinating to see how the arrival of the chick changes his behavior. We’ll be sure to keep you updated over the course of the summer, but for now just raise a glass… to 09 and success at last!
For a Who’s who guide of the Rutland Ospreys, click here.