World Osprey Week update

Apart from one brief visit to the nest by 5N, it has been quiet day in Manton Bay as we wait for the return of 5R. In the meantime, we have an update on the progress on several of the World Osprey Week Ospreys.

The latest data shows that the two Scottish males, Yellow HA and Blue XD, have both reached northern Spain where they have been held up by poor weather. Roy Dennis takes up the story…

The previous data had shown that on 26th March Yellow HA flew north for over 280 km in Morocco and roosted north of a reservoir near Sidi Slimane. He set-off early the next morning and at 8.06am was flying north at 52km/h direct towards Tangier. The weather was cloudy with south-west winds and he should have made a good crossing to southern Spain. The data doesn’t show the exact location of his crossing to Europe, but that night he roosted next to a river to the west of Toledo after a flight of 650km from Morocco. By 4pm next day (28th March) he was over the Cantabrian mountains heading for the Bay of Biscay and had altered course to NE. He had already flown 360 km and was flying at 50 km/h at an altitude of 1575 metres. That evening he reached the north coast of Spain and roosted near the estuary at Santander. The weather was clearly poor next morning because he flew only a short way east to Santona estuary where he spent the day. This is a favourite migratory stop off for ospreys in spring and autumn, so a great place for Yellow HA to stop-over.

Blue XD meanwhile,is 165km south-east of his compatriot in the south of the Navarre region. On 27th March he flew 530 km from Morocco and crossed the Mediterranean Sea to the east of Gibraltar, under cloudy skies and a SW wind. At 5.28pm he was flying north at 65 km/h NE of Cordoba heading for the mountains. After roosting near Montoro, he set off at about 9am next morning to fly north over Spain. Four-and-a-half hours later had flown 210 km and was near Toledo. He flew over Madrid at 1436GMT and by evening had flown 475 km and was roosting near Covaleda, just south of Rioja region.  He was making great progress north, but like Yellow HA, he was then delayed by the weather. He flew just a short distance east on 29th March to a large reservoir, Embalse de la Cuerda del Pozo and then on 30th he flew just 86km north to the Rio Ebro, where he spent the day.

Yellow HA and Blue XD have both reached northern Spain

Yellow HA and Blue XD have both reached northern Spain

In the last World Osprey Week update, Pertti Saurola reported that Finnish Osprey Ilmari had set-off on his spring migration to southern Finland. Excitingly, we are now also following another Finish bird, Haikki. Haikki breeds in Lapland making him one of the northernmost Ospreys in the world. He left his nest on 22nd September and flew over 10,000km south to the coast of Mozambique. He now has also set-off on the long return migration and we’ll be reporting on his progress.

We are very grateful to Professor Pertti Saurola, the Osprey Foundation and and the Finnish Museum of Natural History for allowing us to include Ilmari and Haikki on the WOW website.

Here is the update on the two birds.


28 March 2014

On the evening of 27 March, another 44 km were added to Ilmari’s trip, so he travelled a total of 222 kilometres this day. Ilmari stopped for the night 118 kilometres due east from the city of Makurdi.

At 7 o’clock, GMT, i.e. 8 o’clock local time, Ilmari had landed west of Riti, 18 kilometres from his overnight location. After that, Ilmari proceeded with determination and settled down for the night around 17 o’clock after covering 345 kilometres during this day.

29 March 2014

According to a fix received at 8, local time, Ilmari was in flight 23 kilometres from his stopover place, at an occasional speed of 34 km per hour, but two hours later he was on the ground only a kilometre from the previous positioning. Maybe Ilmari had managed to catch a snack-sized fish on the way? It looks like Ilmari did not continue his flight until it was almost noon, and then he hurried on to his stopover location southwest of Bukarti, where he arrived around 17 o’clock after travelling 246 kilometres this day.

30 March 2014

At 8 o’clock local time, Ilmari had landed less than one kilometre from his overnight location. It would seem that he had nabbed an early morning fish in the nearby river. Around noon, Ilmari crossed the border between Nigeria and Niger. After that, Ilmari continued flying for six hours, then settled down for the night in the fairly rough environment south of Kelle. During this day, Ilmari travelled 191 kilometres. We are expecting new fixes in three days’ time.


28 March 2014

At 07:00 (05:00 GMT), local Mozambique time, Heikki was still by the river, some three kilometres from his roost at the shoreline. At 09:00, the satellite discovered Heikki right by the shore; it seems he was partaking of the last breakfast fish he would get at his wintering range before setting out on his long and hard journey to the north of Finland. At 11:00, Heikki was flying at an elevation of some 450 metres above land, and 48 kilometres from his stopover location. At 15:00 Heikki was flying west of the city of Nampula, and settled down for the night in a location some 66 kilometres north-northeast of Nampula. He travelled some 294 kilometres during this day.

29 March 2014

On this morning, Heikki was already in flight at 7 o’clock, and 23 kilometres from his stopover location. During the four hours between 09:00 and 13:00, Heikki progressed some 180 kilometres, i.e. his average speed was 45 kilometres per hour. Heikki’s route took him almost straight northwards along the coast, some 150 kilometres from the shoreline. Heikki already stopped for the night by 15 o’clock, but still he covered 353 kilometres during this day.

30 March 2014

Heikki flew over the Ravuma, the river on the border between Mozambique and Tanzania at 07:00 (GMT), i.e. at 9:00 Mozambican time and 10:00 Tanzanian time. (Neither country implements summer or daylight saving time, which Europe switches to the previous night). After a somewhat meandering flight for some eight hours, covering 199 kilometres, Heikki stopped in a seemingly uninhabited area between Nahungo and Nakiu, at 16 o’clock, local Tanzanian time. The last fix we have received so far is from 18 o’clock. We are expecting new fixes in three days’ time.

You can check-out the current locations of all the WOW Ospreys on our interactive map. Although World Osprey Week has now passed, you can still register your school on the website. This gives you access to a range of completely free resources for primary and secondary schools. To register, click here.

We’ll have more on a very successful World Osprey Week on the website tomorrow. Meanwhile to read more about the WOW Ospreys, click here.