I was hoping I would have good news to report today, but sadly not. Late last night I received a text message from Farid Lacroix saying that he had found found 09’s body on the ridge in southern Morocco and retrieved the satellite transmitter. Mobile signal in the area is very limited and so we will have to wait until Farid returns to Agadir later today for the full story (including the cause of death).
This is really sad news, but it confirms what we had expected. It also demonstrates that even an experienced Osprey like 09 – who has migrated the equivalent of three times round the world in his lifetime – is not immune to the dangers of the 3000 mile flight to West Africa. Migration is an incredibly demanding time for the birds, whether juveniles or adults, and our satellite-tracking studies are proving that.
The project is very grateful to Farid for his efforts in getting to what is clearly a very remote, inhospitable place. In his text message Farid said, ‘it was very hard to climb this mountain’ and you only have to look at the aerial photo below, to appreciate that. It will be very interesting to see his photos once he is back in Agadir. As I said in the last update, the response we have had to our appeal for help has been remarkable – a second search team, led by wildlife film-maker Faouzi Lahoucine was due to set out today. Having prepared for the trip, they are still going to go in order to film the area for us. There are few things that have the potential to link communities across the world, like bird migration; and the efforts of people we have never met before, demonstrate that.
The recent advances in satellite-tracking have made it possible to follow the migrations of Ospreys and other migratory birds in unprecedented detail and in the past year thousands of people, from all over the world, have followed 09 on his remarkable journeys between Rutland and Senegal. Over the years he has become a real favourite at Rutland Water. Having been translocated to the reservoir in 1998, he returned two years later and then spent the next twelve summers attempting to attract a mate. So when he finally reared two chicks for the first time this summer, it was cause for real celebration. Let’s just hope that at least one of those chicks survives the rigours of migration and and makes it back to Rutland in a couple of years’ time.
Farid will be sending more detailed news and some photos once he is back in Agadir and so we’ll be sure to post them on the site as soon as we receive them – hopefully over the weekend.