The WOW Race Is On!

Tonight’s World Osprey Week update comes from Morocco, where our two Scottish Ospreys are powering north through the Atlas Mountains.

The previous batch of data kindly sent to us by Roy Dennis showed that by the evening of 25th March, Yellow HA had reached the foothills of the Atlas Mountains. The vast mountains present an obvious barrier to migrating birds, but Yellow HA had little difficulty negotiating them. His GSM satellite transmitter records location, flight speed and altitude once every minute, and this data provides an incredible insight into his flight through the mountains. The data shows that, rather than flying through passes in the mountains, Yellow HA flew directly over the top of them. At 12:09 yesterday, he was flying north at an altitude of 2672 metres – more than 900 metres higher than the mountains below.

Yellow HA's GSM transmitter showed that soon after midday on 25/3 he was flying at an altitude of 2672 metres - more than 900 metres over the mountains below him.

Yellow HA’s GSM transmitter showed that soon after midday on 25/3 he was flying at an altitude of 2672 metres – more than 900 metres over the mountains below him.

Yellow HA was clear of the mountains soon afterwards, and he continued onwards towards Marrakesh having flown 125 kilometres since leaving his roost site that morning.

Blue XD, meanwhile, had roosted that morning some 200km south of his compatriot in the northern reaches of the Sahara. He left his roost site on the desert floor soon after 9am and then maintained a remarkably consistent north-easterly heading. By 3pm he was passing 30km to the east of Yellow HA’s roost in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains. The race is well and truly on!

Yellow HA and Blue XD are just over 200km apart as they fly north through Morocco.

Yellow HA and Blue XD are just over 200km apart as they fly north through Morocco.

To check out the latest flight paths and locations of Yellow HA and Blue XD, check out our interactive WOW map.

We are very grateful to Roy Dennis for allowing us to include the two Scottish birds in WOW. To read more about Roy’s work in Scotland, check out his website by clicking here.

To register your school for World Osprey Week click here. Registering gives you access to a range of teaching resources for both primary and secondary schools – helping to bring the world of Ospreys alive for your students!