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Webcam offline

AW might have already reached central Spain, but the Manton Bay family are still present at Lyndon. Sadly the camera has gone down again, meaning the webcam is currently offline. We have investigated the problem and unfortunately it looks unlikely that we will be able to get it back online before the birds leave.

We do hope that you have enjoyed watching the season unfold on camera and rest assured that the live images will be back online next spring. In the meantime, why not have a look at the Manton Bay diary and re-live all those fantastic moments – 5R returning, chicks hatching, lots of fish deliveries (including one very very big bream-see below), first flights and visitors from other nests. What a summer it has been!

AW reaches Madrid

AW reaches Madrid

Although all of yesterday’s data is not yet in, what we have so far shows that AW roosted 30km north of Madrid last night after a day’s flight of around 400km from his previous roost just north of the French/Spanish border.

On Monday evening (see update below)  AW continued migrating until around 6pm when non-GPS positions suggested that he settled to roost a few kilometres north of the France-Spain border, just east of the village of Louhossoa. By following a south-westerly course he had avoiding crossing the Pyrenees and instead roosted at an altitude of 200m after a day’s migration of 425km. He was now just 25km from the French coast.

Next morning AW made another early start – was already flying SW at 29kph at 6am. He may have missed the Pyrenees but an hour later he was crossing the Aralar Massif in northern Spain, skirting a peak of more than 4000 feet.

Flight through Aralar Massif

At 8am he was circling west Vitoria another 30km SW.
We are still waiting for the GPS data for the middle of the day, but we do know that by 3pm he was over 200km south, flying SSW at 17kph. He continued migrating for another two hours at an average speed of around 25kph before stopping for the night a few kilometres north east of Madrid. He probably fished a small lake in the valley of the Rio Torote before roosting in a copse beside the river. He had flown at least 400km in 11.5 hours. We’ll update the Google Earth data once the full data set comes in later today.

AW's roost site 30 August

AW's flight through Spain to Madrid

AW heads to the south of France via Paris

AW heads to the south of France via Paris

The latest batch of data has just come through and it shows AW has made amazing progress south through France.

Having set out across the English Channel at 3pm on Saturday, AW made light work of the crossing- reaching the French coast an hour later at Etaples, about 50km south of Calais. 

Not content with that, he continued to make steady progress south towards Paris, maintaining an average speed of around 30kph. He eventually settled to roost at 8pm in an area of forest just 30km north of the Fench capital having covered an impressive 425km on his first day of migration.

Looking at Google Earth AW probably didn’t fish that evening, but by 8am GMT next morning he was almost certainly fishing in the River Seine just 20km north west of the Eiffel Tower! An hour later he was another 25km south suggesting he probably didn’t catch. He continued to make steady progress through the morning and by midday he was just north of Orleans migrating at an altitude of 92m at 27kph.  At this point he switched to a more south-westerly course, passing over Orleans Forest and the Osprey nests monitored by our good friend, Rolf Wahl. AW maintained speeds of around 35kph during the afternoon and at 5pm he had reached Etang de la Mer-Rouge a lake about 2km long, 40km west of Chateauroux.

He must have caught a fish because an hour later he was perched 3km to south, presumably eating his evening meal. After finishing the fish AW moved to a small copse to roost having covered 305km during the course of the day. The image below shows his fishing and roost sites.

 AW left his roost in the copse at 8am on Monday and headed south west. By 1pm he was 30km east of Bordeaux heading SW at 35kph at an altitude of 33m. He maintained remarkably consistent progress and by 4pm was just north of the town of Dax. Dax is just north of the Pyrenees and so by heading south west AW seems to be intentionally avoiding the high mountains that lie to the south. I wonder if he will head to the coast to avoid the mountains altogether? It will be fascinating to see where he roosted when the next batch of data comes in. He had already covered 360km by the time he reached Dax but I suspect that this experienced navigator will be heading to the coast somewhere near Bayonne.

AW progress on 29th August

 Since leaving Rutland Water on Saturday morning AW has flown over 1000km in three days. It will be really interesting to see whether he is heading for a stop-over site in Spain, or whether he will continue south into Africa. Here’s his flight so far…

AW is off!

AW is off!

For the past two months the satellite radios we fitted to AW and 09 have revealed a huge amount about the birds’ fishing habits. Now comes an even more exciting time. Migration. Male Ospreys usually wait until the last of their chicks has migrated before they head south, but that’s not what AW has done. By Saturday morning only one of his three youngsters had left the Site O nest site (nest on private land near Rutland Water), and we expected him to linger into the early part of September. We were wrong!

After fishing in the reservoir at 8am, AW started his migration. By 11am he was 50km south of Rutland Water heading purposefully SE at 37kph and an hour later he was passing just to the east of Stevenage at 36kph at an altitude of just 33m. His south-easterly course then took him around the eastern edge of London and into Kent. At 2pm he was over Staplehurst still heading SE and by 3pm he was heading out across the English channel, flying 80m above the waves at 40kph. Birdwatchers at Dungerness may well have seen him heading out to see.  He had covered almost 230km in just over five hours of migrating. 

AW’s radio is collecting data every hour, but it is still on a three day duty cycle, meaning we won’t receive his latest position until tomorrow. It will be fascinating to see how far south he has travelled. This is his fifth autumn migration and so he will probably be heading to a regular stop-over site, perhaps in France or Spain. As soon as the data comes in, we’ll update you.

Although AW is heading south, his mate has remained at the nest – and she will probably stay there until the remaining two chicks have left.

Second hand book sale at Lyndon

Second hand book sale at Lyndon

Last winter a group of Osprey Project staff and volunteers travelled to Gambia and Senegal in search of European Ospreys. During the month long trip we visited Tanji school near Banjul to talk to the children about our work at Rutland Water, focusing on Ospreys and migration. The children were enthralled.

Following the success of the visit to West Africa we intend to develop a wildlife education programme for Gambian schools, with Ospreys as the flagship species. We will raise money to provide educational resources for schools and link schools in the Gambia with schools in Rutland.  

As Project Officer Tim felt it was only right that he got the ball rolling and so he will be running the Berlin marathon in September to try and raise some money. We feel passionately that we have a unique opportunity to provide wildlife education in Gambian schools and that the work can have a real lasting legacy among communities in West Africa. Any money you feel able to donate would be greatly appreciated.

To sponsor please visit Tim’s special fundraising page.

We are also having a second hand book sale in the Lyndon Visitor Centre over the next two weeks. We have a huge range of natural history books that have been generously donated by Osprey Project volunteers. It is definately worth a look!

All funds raised will be managed by the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust and will be used specifically to purchase educational resources that can be used in the Gambian schools and to fund field trips.

We will be travelling out to Gambia in January, enabling us to visit more schools and to distribute resources funded by our first wave of fundraising. So, if you can, please give generously.