Over the past 24 hours we have been eagerly awaiting the latest batch of data from 30(05)’s satellite transmitter, knowing that she is likely to be close to home. Sure enough, we now know that she roosted in north-west Essex last night, just 15 miles south of Cambridge. Even more excitingly, John Wright has just seen her fly north over Eyebrook reservoir!
As we expected, the data shows that 30 spent all of Tuesday beside the lagoons, just south of Abbeville in northern France, where she had roosted on Monday evening.The extremely strong north-westerly winds would have made migrating impossible; and as an experienced navigator, 30 would have known it was best to stay put.
The weather improved yesterday and 30 left the lagoons soon after first light. She headed north and by 14:00 BST she had reached Calais. It took her just over an hour to make the short crossing to the Kent coast just to the east of Dover. The winds may have dropped compared to the previous day, but she still had a strong headwind to contend with; the data point at 15:00 showed that she was flying just 10 metres above the waves.
Having reached the English coast 30 continued on the same north-westerly course through Kent, crossing the Isle of Sheppey at 16:00 at an altitude of just 20 metres. Over the course of the next two hours she passed over Southend and then Chelmsford – continuing to fly at an altitude of less than 100 metres because of the headwind – before settling to roost in a wood close to Saffron Walden just after dark at 20:00. Her day’s flight was 180 miles (288km).
It will be fascinating to see what 30 does when she returns to Rutland Water. Last year she paired temporarily with 06(09) but he eventually settled with another female, 00(09). That left 30 to incubate a clutch of eggs alone, and – as expected – she soon abandoned them. This means that it is hard to predict where 30 will end up this spring. If Maya fails to return to Manton Bay, then it may be that 30 will attempt to settle there. So make sure you keep a close eye on the webcam today!
As 30 nears home, two of the other World Osprey Week birds are only just setting-off on their spring migration. Finnish males Ilpo and Tero left their wintering sites in Guinea and Kenya earlier this week and you can check out their latest locations on our interactive WOW map. The map also shows the current location of Blue XD – who is currently flying through the Pyrenees.