Christmas is coming, which means so is the new year. We must wave goodbye to 2015, and get ready for a new start in 2016. The new year brings with it excitement and adventure for the Rutland Osprey Project, as we are heading to West Africa on 4th January!
The Osprey Flyways Project, which Tim mentioned in his blog yesterday, was established in 2011 following a trip to West Africa. An education project was set up in The Gambia in the same year. Almost every year since then, the Osprey team have taken a trip to The Gambia and Senegal, where most European Ospreys spend the winter, to implement the education programme, visit schools and observe Ospreys in their wintering habitat, looking specifically for colour-ringed birds. The team are always hopeful that they will spot a Rutland bird, and several have been seen by others, including 5F(12), 1K(13) and 2K(13). In 2014, members of the Osprey team were lucky enough to have the opportunity to visit the exact spot in which 30(05) winters, achievable thanks to her satellite-transmitter. In January 2016, we hope to be able to do the very same thing again!
As always, a team of Osprey volunteers will be joining staff on the trip. There will be 14 of us altogether, taking a 10-day trip that will include both The Gambia and Senegal. After the first 10 days, myself, Paul Stammers and John Wright will be staying for a further two weeks, to travel a bit further and take in some different sites not achievable with a 10-day limit.
The 10-day itinerary includes:
* Two days in Tendaba, a small fishing village on the banks of the River Gambia.
* A visit to the Sine-Saloum delta in Senegal.
* A boat trip from Missirah to Ile de Oiseaux.
* Two days at the Somone Lagoon – possibly the best place in the world to view fishing Ospreys.
* Back to Gambia to visit schools involved in the Flyways Project.
John, Paul and I will be staying for another few days at the Somone Lagoon, then heading further north to 30’s wintering site. We will also re-visit Tendaba, and spend a few days at the Tanji bird reserve, where 5F(12) was spotted in both 2014 and 2015.
This will be my first trip to Africa, and I am looking forward to it with great anticipation! I will be writing a diary of our adventures as we go, so keep an eye on the website to find out what we have been up to in Africa each day!
We would like to wish a very Merry Christmas to everyone who has supported the Osprey Project over the past year, whether it be following us on the website, monetary donations or volunteering your time to help us, we appreciate it all – thank you!