Having been translocated to Rutland Water as a six-week old chick in 1998, this is 09’s thirteenth autumn migration and his experience is obvious as he flies south.
On Friday evening he roosted on a wooded hillside 8km south of Embalse de Guadalcacin in southern Spain and next morning was perched another 8km further south, just north of Embalase de Barbate, where the Spanish Osprey Project is based. The reservoirs in Andalucia provide superb fishing for Ospreys and although the data doesn’ t show it, 09 would have caught a fish either on Friday evening or Saturday morning.
09 resumed his migration some time after 8am because two hours later he was another 40km south, heading towars Tarifa and the Straits of Gibraltar. The position at 10am shows that 09 was heading powerfully south-east at 53kph. This course would have taken him over the Migres migration watchpoints at Tarifa and out across the sea towards Morocco. At this time of year he would have been joined by thousands of other migrating birds of prey, including Short-toed Eagles, Booted Eagles, Honey Buzzards and Black Kites. By crossing the Staits at Tarifa 09 had a flight of less than 20km across the sea before he reached Morocco.
It would have taken 09 no more than half an hour to cross the Straits, and once in Morocco he continued to make good progress all day. He maintained a remarkably direct south-westerly course, passing Rabat at 6pm at 50kph before finally settling to roost on a rocky hillside 25km south of of the city of Settat. He had covered 488km since leaving southern Spain that morning.
Next morning (Sunday) 09 probably caught a fish in Barrage Al Massira, a reservoir located 20km south of his roost site, before continuing his migration just before 10am.
By 3pm he had covered 250km, maintaining a south-westerly course throughout. Like AW he intentionally avoided flying over the Atlas Mountains, choosing to skirt around their western edge instead. The map below shows just how similar their routes were.
Once clear of the mountains 09 flew due south until 7pm, when he settled to roost in an area of sparse vegetation about 40km south east of Agadir. He had flown 330km during the day.
Unlike previous roost sites, there was no water nearby meaning 09 will have to wait several days before his next meal.
At 9am on Monday morning he had already set off again, heading south west at 37kph with the vast wilds of the Sahara ahead. I wonder where he will be when the next batch of data comes in?