Homeward bound

Great news – our satellite-tagged female, 30(05), is now officially on her way home! We have been waiting impatiently over the last few days to find out where she is – during the winter the tracker only sends us data every five days. This morning we received what we had been waiting for: the excellent news that she is on her way. And over on the other side of Atlantic two other Ospreys that we’re following as part of World Osprey Week have also set-off.

30 began her journey on Tuesday 10th March, leaving the idyllic coastal site in Senegal where she has spent the winter months, and set off resolutely homewards! She passed to the west of the large Lac de Guiers, then crossed the Senegal river in the afternoon. Landmarks such as these are important in an Osprey’s migration, as studies have shown that they use them to navigate.

30 heading northwards on 10th March, past the Lac de Guiers

30 heading northwards on 10th March, past the Lac de Guiers

30 heading northwards on 10th March, past the Lac de Guiers

An Osprey eye view

She flew quite late into the evening, then roosted just north of the Senegal river. In her first day of migration, 30 travelled a total of 226km (140 miles). Day two took her into the desert of Mauritania, where she flew for 269km (167 miles) to a roost site. The next two days she continued through the Sahara, travelling 406km (252 miles).

Her direction of flight had shifted slightly north-west, and the next day’s data gave us a scare when it showed she was much further west than we would have anticipated. The wind must have been blowing strongly from the east and pushed her off-course. Luckily her data points show that she has turned back to the east and is now getting back on track.

30's course was altered by the wind

30’s course was altered by the wind

The last data point we have for 30 was yesterday morning at 10am. During the four days of migration she has already undertaken, she has covered a distance of 901km (560 miles), averaging 225km (140 miles) per day. At the moment she is travelling at quite a leisurely pace, flying at an average speed of 26kph (16mph).

We should receive more data tomorrow or the next day – it will be interesting to know where she is!

30's route so far

30’s route so far

Meanwhile, over the other side of the Atlantic two of the WOW Ospreys have also set off on their northward migration. Belle, who spent her winter in Brazil on the edge of the Amazon Rainforest, was the first of the birds to set-off, on 8th March – six days earlier than last spring. Since then Rob Bierregaard reports that she has made steady progress and by 14th March she had reached the southern part of Venezuela. A little further north, Donovan has already reached Cuba. Iain MacLeod from the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center takes up the story…

After hanging out for a couple of days in northern Venezuela, Donovan headed over to Aruba and started his crossing over to Haiti during the late afternoon of March 12. He reached Haiti at 10am on March 13 and didn’t even stop to roost or feed. He kept on moving throughout the next day. At 6pm on the 13th he was still moving (26kph) and about to cross the Great Antilles Ridge over to Cuba. His first point on the 14th (at 6am) was on Cuba. I suspect he flew through the night again before finally stopping to roost. Since leaving Venezuela he had flown 1,300 km in one nonstop flight in 36 hours. Pretty impressive.

A close look at the data shows that he is following very closely to his schedule of last year. He left Aruba shortly before 5pm on March 12. Last year he left Aruba on the same date just before 3pm (now that’s planning). Once he reached Haiti, he quickly picked up the same path over to and through Cuba.

Donovan is making good progress having already made it to Cuba

Donovan is making good progress having already made it to Cuba

To read more about the Ospreys we’re following as part of World Osprey Week, click here. To sign your school up, click here.

To see the locations of all of the WOW Ospreys check out our interactive map.

10 responses to “Homeward bound”

  1. Valerie

    Great news Kayleigh – next update will be interesting stay safe 30 and all of the other ospreys winging there way home

  2. Suzie

    Oh Kayleigh THANK YOU!

    I am sure I am not the only one that frets as our wonderful birds make their way back to us … good to know God willing that she’ll be home soon!


  3. Jim carr

    Fantastic, lots of interesting infos
    Hallo Kayleigh, glad to see You on the Team, wish you all the best and enjoyment for your work

    1. Kayleigh Brookes

      Thanks Jim! All the best to you both.

  4. Richard Cross

    Its the time of the year we have all been waiting for eagerly watching the nest sight cams any further info will be very much appreciated.

    Regards to you all

  5. Sheila FE

    Excellent news Kayleigh, it won’t be long before they are arrived at RW!

  6. Suzie

    Hmmmmm … I’m beginning to feel rather sorry and concerned for our intrepid interlopers … those Egyptian Geese have been regularly mating and seem today to be preparing the nest especially for themselves! I know they will be sent packing when Maya and 33(11) return … will they be able to find a new site reasonably easily and in time for their egg laying?

    1. Kayleigh Brookes

      Not to worry Suzie, the Ospreys will displace the geese when they return. Egyptian Geese are an non-native species, and they should know better now that this nest is not available!

  7. Christine Williams

    Exciting time, fingers crossed our wonderful Ospreys make it back again this year.

  8. Sue Doran

    Yay, brilliant news. I just looked at the webcam of the nest and there were two geese on there flapping their wings and honking their heads off. I think they’re telling the whole world the Ospreys are back!