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Progress of our satellite tagged birds

Progress of our satellite tagged birds

We are delighted to report that our ospreys with satellite tags, 4K(13) and S1(15) are both in their wintering grounds in West Africa, the map outlines S1’s route over the Sahara Desert.


The desert’s vast and desolate expanse presents a demanding challenge to all our migrating birds. They will typically take a westerly route from southern Morocco, through Western Sahara arriving in northern Senegal up to five days later. Because of satellite technology, we now have a better understanding of their journeys. They migrate across the desert using a soaring and gliding flight, using strong thermals to gain altitude, gliding onwards, then slowly losing height before they reach the next updraft. This method conserves their energy. Remarkable.


4K(13) 2019 migratory route

Bon voyage 4K!

The two Rutland satellite tagged ospreys, S1(15) and 4K(13) are well on their way to warmer climes.

S1(15) set off over a week earlier than 4K(13), and he is currently on the Bissagos Islands off the coast of Guinea-Bissau, West Africa. 

S1(15) 2019 migratory route

4K started his own migratory journey on the 7th September. Six days in and he has traveled an astonishing 1,800 miles! 4K’s route to date has included an English Channel crossing via the Isle of Wight, a short flight over the Brittany peninsula, then instead of flying inland he took a short-cut across the Bay of Biscay into Spain. He has now reached the Atlas Mountains and is continuing in a south-westerly direction.

4K(13) 2019 migratory route

S1(15) and 4K(13) migratory journey to date

Wishing all the birds the best of luck on their migratory journeys.

The end of a record season for the ospreys!

The end of a record season for the ospreys!

Maya and 33 eventually decided that they too must leave Manton Bay and start their migration to their wintering grounds.  They were last seen in Manton Bay on the 2nd of September, but for a while we were unsure as to whether they had departed, or would surprise us with a quick return to their territory before going on their way, this pair often do the unexpected.

33 was keen to defend the nest for as long as possible, he spent a great deal of time bringing in branches as if in preparation for the next season.


This was one of the last shots of the pair on their nest together before they left.

Now that they have gone, we can reflect on what has been a bumper year for The Rutland Osprey Project. 31 ospreys returned to Rutland this season and 10 nest sites produced a record number of 23 youngsters.  056 the third chick from the Manton Bay nest became our 150th fledgling, a fantastic success for the project, now in it’s 23rd year.

Migration of S1

Migration of S1

S1, one of our male ospreys, fledged from Manton Bay in 2015, one of the offspring of 33 and Maya.  He was ringed on the 30th June 2015 and left on his first migration on 29th August 2015.

S1 was first seen back in the UK in 2017 and has been holding a territory, although has not yet managed to attract a female.  He was fitted with a GPS tracker in August 2018.

He started his 2019 migration on the 31st August, roosting on the south coast of England before crossing the channel in the early hours of the morning and arriving in France at 9am on 1st September, since then he has made steady progress south through Spain.

The project has two other satellite tagged birds, 4K and 30.

4K’s blue ring is clearly visible in John Wright’s photo

4K, a male bird from 2013,  has yet to leave on migration and 30’s satellite tag is no longer transmitting – but we do know that all is well with this female from 2005, as she has been seen this season.

Credit to Geoff Harries.

We will keep you updated with progress of the birds as they migrate to their wintering grounds.



BOW PARTY (Bye-bye Ospreys Week Party)

BOW PARTY (Bye-bye Ospreys Week Party)

What a year for the Rutland ospreys, with a record number of nests and chicks. As the weather begins to change with a distinctly “end of summer feel”, our four young Manton Bay ospreys are now on their way south to warmer climes, on their first migration.

At the Volunteer Training Centre another group of youngsters, no less than 21 of our Osprey Ambassadors representing the Rutland Osprey Project in our local schools, met for the last time this season. Some of these youngsters will migrate to new schools this week and all will take the latest end of season osprey news back to their schools and educational groups. Again a record number of Ambassadors and participating schools this year.

The BOW (Bye-bye Ospreys Week) party began with pictures and highlights of the Rutland Osprey year, a chance for all to play the “osprey migration game”, and a world premier screening of Ambassador Sam Newcomb’s Bird Fair interviews with Mike Dilger and Nick Baker. The “Brain of Osprey” quiz was close but Sam Newcombe and Harriet Ambler won the senior and junior prizes respectively with the highest scores – well done! Of course another highlight was Cake (our thanks go to Liz, Jo and Libby). Bird watching across lagoon 4 completed our afternoon with ambassadors and accompanying adults getting some great views of waterfowl and waders, including Avocet and Wood sandpiper.

World Osprey Week 23rd to 27th March will mark the start of the 2020 Rutland osprey season, when the birds migrate back to Rutland after over wintering in West Africa. We will meet our Ospreys Ambassadors again with some new faces joining this popular and very important part of our school education programme. If your school wants to be involved in 2020 let us know!