WOW latest – Donovan is home

Last week we reported that one of the WOW Ospreys was nearing home. Sure enough Donovan arrived back at his nest in New Hampshire in the United States on Friday. Iain MacLeod takes up the story…

Donovan left a small pond just north of Allentown just after 10am on Wednesday and pushed on another 175 miles before roosting in a wooded area near Shelburne Falls in Massachusetts. At 9am on the 3rd he was perched next to the Bridge of Flowers (Rt. 2) bridge in Shelburne Falls, 82 miles from home. By 10am he was well on his way west. I suspect the strong north-west wind slowed him down and he didn’t make the big push home. At 1 pm he was fishing along a small pond near West Townsend, MA. By 3pm he was perched again on a pond just west of Milford, NH and by 4pm was just south of Goffstown. By 5pm he was perched next to a little pond right next to I-93 in Concord. At 9pm he was roosting on a tree just below the Loudon Road Bridge on the Merrimack River in Concord. By 9am on the 4th he had doubled back south and was 8.5 miles away near Dunbarton and by 10am had returned to the small pond in Milford where he stayed for a couple hours. I’m guessing he caught a fish there the day before and returned for breakfast. At noon he was hunting along a wetland next to Rt. 3 just south of New Boston. He was at his nest at 2pm. After fishing along the Winnipesaukee River (obviously where he caught the fish that I saw him eating at 5pm), he headed over to Franklin and roosted next to the Merrimack River a little over 4 miles from his nest. At 10am on Saturday, he was fishing along the Winnipesaukee River just behind Staples in Tilton.

Donovan made it back to his nest at 2pm on 4th April

Donovan made it back to his nest at 2pm on 4th April

To find out more about the New Hampshire Ospreys, log on to the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center website.

Like Donovan, Yellow HA – one of two Scottish birds we are following as part of WOW – is also nearing home. He’s having to contend with poor weather, though as Roy Dennis reports…

On April 4th Yellow HA roosted in woodlands to the north of Pen-y-Gent in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. He set off at 07:48 and flew north passing over Carlisle at 09:24 and reached the Peebles area at 11.26 where he seemed to be checking out the Ospreys there.  Next day he continued north to Perthshire before spending the night beside Loch of Craiglush, just north of Loch of Lowes. The latest data shows that he was still there yesterday morning, waiting to complete the final leg of his journey.

Like Yellow HA, Blue XD has also been held up by the weather. His latest data shows that having been held up in northern France for several days, he got going again yesterday morning. However he only managed to fly 30km north before being grounded again by rain – see map of weather and his position (yellow circle). Hopefully it will clear and he can cross the Channel. It shows how Ospreys can have a good migration north from Africa and then run into poor weather and get grounded on the last leg.

Rain held Blue XD up in northern France yesterday.

Rain held Blue XD up in northern France yesterday.

To read more about Roy’s Osprey studies in Scotland, check out his website.

The two Finnish birds, meanwhile, are still flying north through Africa. Here is the latest update from Pertti Saurola…


3 April 2014

At 07:00, local time (04:00 GMT), Heikki was still on the ground near his stop-over location west of Kilimanjaro.  Two hours later, he was in flight, and so he continued for the next six fixes, i.e. for twelve hours. During this time, Heikki flew 450 km, averaging 38 kilometres an hour, which is quite a normal speed for an Osprey in calm weather. After 10 o’clock, Heikki entered the airspace of Kenya. At 13:00, he passed west of Nairobi, and at 17:00, east of the Nakuru national park, famous for its flamingos.

4 April 2014

Heikki was in flight again at 10:00 local time. This time his day trip already ended after four hours and 173 kilometres at the south end of Lake Turkana, famous for the institute for research into human evolution. On his autumn migration, Heikki followed the eastern edge of Lake Turkana southwards. It looks like he will follow the western edge northwards now.


2 April 2014

At 6 o’clock, local time (05 GMT), Ilmari was still at his stopover place right by the side of the road leading north from Agadez. The following fix did not arrive until six hours later, when Ilmari had migrated another 67 km. This time, Ilmari took a route following the western side of the Air mountain range.  In spring 2013, Ilmari crossed the eastern side of Air Mountain. The distance between the two spring routes was some 140 km at this point. Ilmari found his overnight location at the northern end of the Air mountains, after flying 277 km this day.

3 April 2014

According to the fixes, Ilmari was continuously in flight for eight hours, 10:00-18:00, local time (09:00-17:00 GMT); during this time, he flew 486 km, averaging 60 km per hour! At his highest, Ilmari flew at an altitude of 2,410 metres over sea level and 1,781 metres over land level. Shortly before noon, Ilmari crossed the border between Niger and Algiers. During this day, he travelled a total of 535 km to his stopover location in the Tassili N’Ajjer national park. (If you have the time, it will not be wasted if you have a look at the photographs of Tassili N’Ajjer landscapes and rock paintings on the internet.)

Ilmari is now crossing the Sahara for the fourth time under the supervision of the satellite. At its broadest, the ‘migration corridor’ used by Ilmari has been around 800 km broad. The autumn 2012 migration was furthest to the east, and the autumn 2013 one furthest to the west. The spring migrations have run between the autumn ones, and fairly close to each other.

To find out more about Ospreys in Finland, check out the excellent website of the Finnish Museum of Natural History.

Don’t forget that you can check out the latest locations of all the WOW Ospreys on the interactive map.