09’s latest data has come through this morning and it shows that he spent all of yesterday (Sunday) on the Senegal coast, midway between Dakar and St Louis. It looks like he has probably reached his winter home.
The previous batch of data had shown that 09 made a distinct shift south-west on 15th September (Thursday), a flight path that appeared to be taking him down towards St Louis in northern Senegal. He had now almost crossed the vast wilds of the Sahara, but seemed to be feeling the effects of the long and arduous flight. He covered just 180km on Thursday – significantly less than the previous few days. He roosted that night amid high rolling dunes.
Next morning 09 resumed his migration after 9am, initially heading just west of south. By 11am he had covered just under 30km and was flying south at 44kph, 110m above the spectacular dunes. Two hours later he was another 45km further on and now made a distinct turn to the south-west. During the course of the afternoon he flew another 130km at altitudes of around 500 metres. He settled to roost just before dark in the Reserve Forestiere de Berbeira – an area of scattered trees in the south of Mauritania. His day’s flight was just over 200km.
09 was now within striking distance of the Senegal coast and his first fish for several days. He clearly knew it as well because he had already covered 25km south-west by 7am next morning (Saturday). Two hours later he had stopped again, but he didn’t rest for long. He crossed the mighty Senegal River just after 11am and flew south west over Djoudj National Park. I know Djoudj well having visited there with John, Paul and Frederic Bacuez three times last winter. Whilst in Djoudj we identified several wintering Ospreys from Germany and also YU – a female who fledged from the Lake District nest in 2007. I wonder if 09 encountered any of them as he flew over the park? Djoudj is a reminder that it is not just Ospreys who are migrating south this autumn. The park is home to more than 3 million migrant birds each winter. The photos below taken by John at Djoudj show Ospreys with two of those visitors – Garganeys and a Montagu’s Harrier.
09 continued south west and passed to the east of St Louis at 1pm. He was making excellent progress and at around 4pm he reached the coast 73km south of St Louis. He had flown 225km.
Singificantly, 09 then spent all of yesterday at the same place, spending the majority of the day perched in a wooded area 150m from the beach and making one foray out to sea at 2:30pm. There seems every chance therefore, that this is 09’s established wintering site. We should know for sure when the next batch of data comes in. If this is the place where he has spent the last thirteen winters, then myself John and Paul were unknowingly very close to him when we visited the north of Senegal in January. We were less than 30 miles up the coast when we visited Langue de Barbarie. The coastline at Barbarie must be very similar to 09’s spot and so here are a couple of photos to give you an idea of what the coastline there is like. You might also like to read about our trip to Senegal, by checking out the blog we wrote out there.
It’s going to be really interesting to see if 09 is at the same place when the next batch of data comes in.