She’s made it, well, almost! The latest batch of satellite data shows that at 11am this morning, 30 was in northern Senegal, just 60km from her wintering site on the coast.
As Kayleigh reported earlier in the week, the previous batch of data had shown that 30 roosted in the wilds of Western Sahara on Sunday evening. Next morning she made a slow start to her day’s flight; by 10am she was just 10km south of her overnight roost and an hour later, she had only flown another 9km. At that point, however, she changed to a more south-westely heading, and made consistent progress for the rest of the day; flying 230km over the course of the next seven hours. As she headed south-west 30 would have been using thermals created by the searing heat , to aid her migration; soaring to gain height on the thermals and then gliding onwards. By using the airflows in this way, 30 and other migrating Ospreys are able to save valuable energy during their crossing of the desert. By 6pm 30 settled to roost for the night in the Province of Oed Ed-Dehab Lagouira in the south of Western Sahara.
By 7am the next morning – her fourth in the desert – 30 had moved 1.8km south from her overnight roost. She set-off again at around 9:30am and headed purposefully south-west, passing into Mauritanian airspace between 1pm and 2pm. By the time she settled to roost at 5:30pm, she had flown a total of 365km across the desert.
Next morning 30 set-off just after 9am, initially heading south-south-east. At 11am she changed course to a south-south-westerly heading, and made steady progress across the desert during the afternoon. By early evening she was approaching the Senegal border and must have sensed she was close to home, because she continued flying until 7pm; settling to roost shortly after she had crossed the iconic Senegal River, after a day’s flight of 408km. For the first time in five nights she settled to roost in a cultivated area, having successfully crossed the vast and desolate Sahara once again.
So, just 10 days after leaving Rutland, 30 is almost certain to arrive at her wintering site today. Even for an experienced adult Osprey, this is an incredibly fast migration.
This morning’s data shows that she was still at her overnight roosting spot at 7am, but by 9am she was heading south-west over Lac du Guiers; appearing to pass up the opportunity of breakfast, in favour of an early return to the coast. By 11am she was to the east of St Louis, and heading straight for her winter home. By now (4pm) she is almost certain to have made it, but check back tomorrow to be sure!
Click here to follow 30’s journey on our special map (2015’s autumn migration is the blue line).
Alternatively, click here to follow 30 using Google Earth.