Africa here we come!

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!

African school (2) African school (3)

African schoolAn Osprey fishing off the Gambian coast

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!

Santa Osprey




6 responses to “Africa here we come!”

  1. Sue Jones

    We visited the Gambia about thirty years ago, before we became involved with watching Ospreys in the Porthmadog area, we now volunteer at the project.
    Would love to go back to The Gambia again. Do you know if there are any individuals or holiday companies that specialise in trips to the area?

    1. Kayleigh Brookes

      Hi Sue, thanks for your message. Junkung Jadama is a local bird guide in The Gambia, he is our guide on every trip we take to Africa, and he also co-ordinates our education programme by visiting schools and taking children on field trips. He is an excellent guide. His company is called Bird Tours of The Gambia, here is his website –

  2. Mike Simmonds

    Wishing you all a safe trip and looking forward to the reports Kayleigh. Good luck.

  3. Margaret

    Have a great trip Kayleigh! Looking forward to reading all about your adventures in your blogs, and hope to see lots of wonderful photos by John!

  4. Sheila FE

    Having followed the reports from Chris Wood on his recent trip to The Gambia, I am really looking forward to hearing your tales of encounters with old friends. The education aspect of these trips is so vital for the safety of these wonderful birds. I admire the work you are all doing out there.
    Have a wonderful trip: such an amazing experience for you.

  5. Valerie Webber

    Kayleigh I am sure you will have a wonderful time , you totally deserve it as well . Lots of love from me and also best wishes to Paul and John , good luck xx