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09 and AW flying over the Sahara

09 reaches central Mauritania

09’s latest batch of data is just starting to come through and a non-GPS position showed that he was in central Mauritania at 6:50am this morning. This means that by this evening he should have completed his crossing of the Sahara and reached Senegal.

The previous data had shown that 09 was 48km south west of Agadir and heading out into the desert at 9am on Monday morning (12th September). By 1pm he was another 125km further on, heading south-west at 68kph. This course took him over the speactaular ridge the runs across the northern edge of the Sahara, just before 3pm. The photos below show the ridge photographed from the plane as myself and the team from Rutland Water flew to West Africa last winter.

At 5pm 09 was circling more than 3000 feet above the desert, perhaps looking for somewhere to spend the night. He had covered 290km.

The next GPS data shows that at 11am next morning (Tuesday 13th) he was another 147km further south west, circling over the desert, presumably using thermals to gain height. By 3pm he had covered another 157km, following a remarkably similar route to AW. In fact 09 actually crossed the path taken by AW between 1pm and 3pm that afternoon. 

09 and AW flying over the Sahara


We are still waiting for the remainder of the GPS data to come through and I’ll update the page once it does. In the meantime a single non GPS (but accurate) position showed that by this morning he had covered another 660km south-west across the desert, still following a similar course to AW. He had now covered at least 1250km since Monday morning.

09's latest position in the Sahara

A Grand Season Finale...

A Grand Season Finale…

Following the departure of our last two Ospreys a few days ago the quietness in Manton Bay sadly marks the end of the season. The last six months have been truly amazing. All that we have achieved this year just wouldn’t be possible without our many volunteers, who have dedicated over 8500 hours of their valuable time to monitor nests and talk to visitors about Ospreys, particularly the antics of the Manton Bay family. This is incredible and we thank you!

On Sunday evening we held our end of season party so we could all get together and celebrate the achievements of the 2011 season. The fish and chip van made it’s annual appearance and the turnout was fantastic! Everyone enjoyed listening to Tim as he recaptured the events of the season, the highs and the lows, and the exciting journeys of the satellite tagged Ospreys.

A brilliant evening! We all enjoyed the entertainment and when it was time to leave no one felt an end of season sadness, instead we are all excited for the coming months. We will follow the every move of our two satellite tagged males on their wintering grounds as we begin the long wait for the return of the Rutland Ospreys next spring.

09's positions in Andalucia, 9-10 Sept

Textbook migration to Agadir

Having been translocated to Rutland Water as a six-week old chick in 1998, this is 09’s thirteenth autumn migration and his experience is obvious as he flies south.

On Friday evening he roosted on a wooded hillside 8km south of Embalse de Guadalcacin in southern Spain and next morning was perched another 8km further south, just north of Embalase de Barbate, where the Spanish Osprey Project is based. The reservoirs in Andalucia provide superb fishing for Ospreys and although the data doesn’ t show it, 09 would have caught a fish either on Friday evening or Saturday morning.

09 in Andalucia, 9-10 Sept


09 resumed his migration some time after 8am because two hours later he was another 40km south, heading towars Tarifa and the Straits of Gibraltar. The position at 10am shows that 09 was heading powerfully south-east at 53kph. This course would have taken him over the Migres migration watchpoints at Tarifa and out across the sea towards Morocco. At this time of year he would have been joined by thousands of other migrating birds of prey, including Short-toed Eagles, Booted Eagles, Honey Buzzards and Black Kites. By crossing the Staits at Tarifa 09 had a flight of less than 20km across the sea before he reached Morocco.

View towrds Tarifa and Morocco


Migrating Black Kites and a Short-toed Eagle


Male Osprey migrating

It would have taken 09 no more than half an hour to cross the Straits, and once in Morocco he continued to make good progress all day. He maintained a remarkably direct south-westerly course, passing Rabat at 6pm at 50kph before finally settling to roost on a rocky hillside 25km south of of the city of Settat. He had covered 488km since leaving southern Spain that morning.

09's 488km flight, 10th September


Next morning (Sunday) 09 probably caught a fish in Barrage Al Massira, a reservoir located 20km south of his roost site, before continuing his migration just before 10am.

 By 3pm he had covered 250km, maintaining a south-westerly course throughout. Like AW he intentionally avoided flying  over the Atlas Mountains, choosing to skirt around their western edge instead. The map below shows just how similar their routes were.

09 (orange line) and AW avoiding the Atlas Mountains

Once clear of the mountains 09 flew due south until 7pm, when he settled to roost in an area of sparse vegetation about 40km south east of Agadir. He had flown 330km during the day.

Unlike previous roost sites, there was no water nearby meaning 09 will have to wait several days before his next meal.

09's 330km flight, 11th September

At 9am on Monday morning he had already set off again, heading south west at 37kph with the vast wilds of the Sahara ahead. I wonder where he will be when the next batch of data comes in?

AW fishing 3km out to sea

AW at his winter home

The latest data from AW’s radio proves that he has reached his winter home. Having roosted in the mangroves 500m from the shoreline on Friday evening, the GPS position at 8am showed him fishing just over 3km out to sea. An hour later he was back in the mangroves, presumably eating the fish.

 Like most adult Ospreys at their established wintering site, AW will probably spend the winter in a very small area – using the same perches each day. It will be really interesting to follow his daily routine over the coming months.

AW fishing 3km out to sea

AW's movements on the Guinea coast 3-9pm, 9th September

AW has made it to Guinea – and probably his winter home

Just after 3pm yesterday AW arrived on the Guinea coast 75 kilometres south of the border with Guinea-Bissau. On every other day of his fourteen day migration to West Africa he has flown until early evening, but yesterday was different. He spent the rest of the afternoon in a small area of mangroves, making one short flight to fish. It looks like he has reached his winter home.

AW's movements on the Guinea coast

Earlier in the morning AW hadn’t left his roost site until after 9am. He was fishing in the River Corubal at 7am and then must have spent a couple of hours eating it. He obviously knew that there was no need to rush.

By 10am he was heading south at 17kph and he crossed the border into Guinea just after 11am. At this point he switched to a south-easterly heading and this took him to the coast. He arrived just after 3pm after a day’s flight of just under 200km.

AW's flight, 9th September

If AW has reached his wintering site, then it has taken him just 14 days to get there; surely one of the fastest Osprey migrations recorded anywhere in the world? He covered 5274km (3277 miles) on his two week journey, an average of 376km a day. What an incredible migration.

AW's migration to Guinea - 27th August-9th September