WOW! Welcome home!

Talk about good timing…today was the first day of World Osprey Week and, as we had hoped, 30(05) has made it home! John Wright was at her nest site to see her drop down onto her nest close to Rutland Water at 1:20pm this afternoon. What a fantastic moment! We are still waiting for the full-set of satellite data to come through, so watch out for another update – including John’s photos – tomorrow when we’ll review her final two days of migration. For now, it is just great to know that she is home.

She's home - 30(05) arrived back at her nest site this afternoon.

She’s home – 30(05) arrived back at her nest site this afternoon.

30 is the second of the WOW Ospreys to make it back to her nest site, but our other six birds still have a long way to go. This afternoon Rob Bierregaard sent us the latest update on Belle. Belle left her wintering site on the southern edge of the Amazon Rainforest on 14th March, and the latest data shows that she is making excellent progress north en route to Massachusetts in the United States. By 1pm on 22nd March she was approaching the northern reaches of the Andes in Venezuela, having flown more than 1250 miles (2011km) in eight days.

Rob reports that for most of the trip she has been close to the route she took last year, her second trip home. Her flight north has taken her through Brazil, into Colombia on 20th March (no border checkpoints for her!), and now to within 200 miles of the Gulf of Venezuela. She is now faced with the daunting prospect of crossing the Andes. It will be interesting to see if she flies north in order to use a pass through the mountains that she used in both 2012 and 2013. The image below (taken from Google Earth) shows the kind of view she was faced with as she flew towards the mountains. We wish her well!

Belle will have to fly through the northern reaches of the Andes on the next leg of her migration.

Belle will have to fly through the northern reaches of the Andes on the next leg of her migration.

Belle has flown over 1250 miles (2010km) since leaving her wintering site in Brazil

Belle has flown over 1250 miles (2010km) since leaving her wintering site in Brazil

Meanwhile in Africa our Finnish Osprey, Ilmari is still at his winter home in Cameroon. Pertti Saurola has sent us some more about his winter movements…

On 17 October, 2013, the satellites showed that Ilmari had returned for his second winter to the same seemingly unoccupied area that is criss-crossed by large and small rivers, situated at the west coast of Cameroon, halfway between Doula and Limbe (formerly Victoria), some 30 km west of Douala, formerly a centre for the slave trade and currently the largest city in Cameroon.

At the time of writing this (21 March), Ilmari is still at his wintering location. In spring 2013, Ilmari set out for his spring migration on 29 March, i.e. about a week after this date. So far, Ilmari has spent his winter remarkably similarly to last year.

All in all, Ilmari has moved around in an area covering 294 km² during this winter; last year his wintering territory was 295 km². If we only include 90% of the fixes in the calculations, the size of Ilmari’s main living range was only 0.3 km² large, while it was 0.8 km² last year. Of his night roosts 98% were concentrated inside 0.06 km². Last year his overnight locations were spread a tiny bit wider, over 0.4 km². Same as last year, the central point of Ilmari’s winter fixes was some 15 km from the shoreline of the Gulf of Guinea. The fixes that show his fishing trips are illustrated by two fan shapes on the map, one of which goes south, towards the sea, and the other, much thinner one, inland to the north-northeast. The furthest fixes were recorded at 25 km on the seaward-bound route and 9 km on the northern route from the central point of Ilmari’s winter range.

Ilmari has spent his winter in Cameroon.

Ilmari has spent his winter in Cameroon.

So far, the satellite has only discovered Ilmari flying over the open sea six times (exactly the same as last year!), and four times right above the shoreline. The data of the last two years strongly indicates that Ilmari has concentrated his fishing almost exclusively to the labyrinth formed by the delta rivers and the gulfs eating into the mainland. Some 15% of the daylight fixes (same as last year!) show Ilmari in the air, i.e. most probably out fishing. In other words, Ilmari has spent most of the winter in a very small area, perched at the top of a tree and waiting to set out on his spring migration – very like he did last year!

To read more about the satellite-tracking of Finnish Ospreys, click here.

Don’t forget that you can check out the latest locations of all the WOW Ospreys on our WOW interactive map.

To read more about all the Ospreys we’re tracking during WOW, click here.

Finally, to sign your school up to WOW, click here.

One response to “WOW! Welcome home!”

  1. Hannah Taylor

    Wow this site is amazing, im so looking forward to world ospray week.
    My school are reading sky hawk its about a osprays on a farm in Scotland.
    Thx best site ever