We are now just a few days away from the start of World Osprey Week, and Osprey migration is in full-swing. Three birds have already returned to Rutland Water and many more will be heading north towards nests in Europe and North America.
We’re eagerly awaiting the next batch of GPS data from 30’s satellite transmitter – we should have an update tomorrow – but in the meantime, three of our other WOW Ospreys are now on the move.
Donovan, a male Osprey from New Hampshire in the United States began his northward migration from Venezuela a day before 30 set-off, and he continues to make good progress north. Iain MacLeod from Squam Lakes Natural Science Center takes up the story…
Donovan is making rapid progress through Cuba and by the end of Monday had reached the north coast about 50 miles east of Havana. He is likely to have made the 100 mile crossing to Florida yesterday. New Hampshire continues in the deep freeze. I was hiking on a lake on Sunday (yes, ON a lake) and the ice was two feet thick. We have had one of the coldest winters in living memory and so far in March we have barely had more than a couple days when the day time highs have been above freezing (!) so, slow down Donovan . . . nothing for you here!
Hot on the heels of Donovan, is another Osprey who is also heading for the east coast of North America. Belle is a three year-old female from Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. She spends each winter beside the Madeira River at the southern edge of the Amazon Rainforest. Click here to read more about her autumn migration.
After spending the winter in the rainforest (quite a contrast from North America!), Belle set-off on the long flight north on 14th March, following the course of the Rio Madeira for 100 miles before heading over to the Rio Abufari. By late on the 16th, she was north of the main Amazon trunk and already 350 miles north of her winter home. Having wintered much further south than Donovan, it will be fascinating to see how quickly she can make up time. Belle does not yet have a nest site of her own, but she’ll be eager to get back to Martha’s Vineyard as quickly as possible to try and find a mate.
Meanwhile, over the other side of the Atlantic, another female Osprey, CAT, has also started her spring journey. CAT was fitted with a satellite transmitter last summer by Flavio Monti as part of his PhD studies on Mediterranean Ospreys. CAT is one of a small number of Ospreys that nests on the coastal cliffs of Corsica, and like most of the population there, she made only a short migration to southern Spain. She spent her winter beside the Rio Guadiaro in Andalucuia, very close to the Scottish Osprey, Beatrice, who myself and Flavio actually saw in Spain in 2008.
Having set-off from her wintering site on Sunday, CAT flew the length of Spain in just three days. She reached the south of France yesterday evening and spent the the night just south of Perpignan. From there it is a relatively short flight west to Corsica – and she should have been helped by westerly winds that were forecast in the area today.
Don’t forget there is still time for your school to get involved in World Osprey Week. Registering is very simple, and once you’ve done so, you have completely free access to a range of resources for both primary and secondary schools that will help bring the amazing world of Ospreys alive for your students. All registered schools also have the opportunity to contact other schools on the Osprey migratory flyways.