When will the journey home begin?

How time flies! It is amazing to think that it is now less than a month before the first Ospreys will be back in Rutland. This year, for the first time, we’ll be able to follow our satellite-tagged birds as they head for home.

The latest satellite data shows that they are both still at their wintering sites; 09 on the coast of Senegal and AW in central Ivory Coast. In recent days AW has been spending an increasing amount of time on the shores of the vast Lac de Buyo, some 20 miles north-west of his usual haunts. Perhaps the fishing there has become easier, or maybe some of the other wintering Ospreys have already begun to move north, allowing AW to ‘move in’ on their patch?

AW's latest locations in the Ivory Coast

AW's latest locations in the Ivory Coast

09's latest positions in Senegal

09's latest positions in Senegal

09 meanwhile is still settled on the coast of Senegal, usually fishing less than a mile out to sea and then perching either on the beach or his favourite spots just inland.

So the question is, when will they start the journey north? Last year both birds returned to Rutland during the last week in March. Given that the flight north is likely to take them at least two-and-a-half to three weeks, we might expect them to begin their migration in early March. It will be especially interesting to see which way AW heads home. Will he fly north-west to his stop-over site in Guinea, or fly due north from the Ivory Coast through central Guinea and then into Mali? It goes without saying that we’ll be updating the website on a daily basis as soon as they start moving. So watch this space!