WOW migration update

There has been a great deal of excitement in Manton Bay this morning. The female has been joined by 28(10), a young four-year-old male who returned to Rutland last week. If 5R fails to return – and he is now more than a week later than last year – then 28 may well take his place this year. It will be fascinating to see what happens over the weekend. Make sure you keep a close eye on the webcam, or even better, why not come and visit us at Lyndon?

Of course there is still a chance that 5R has simply been held up by poor weather; and that has certainly been the case for two of the World Osprey Week satellite-tagged Ospreys. Yellow HA and Blue XD are both heading north to nests in Scotland, but over the past few days, both birds have been delayed by the weather. Roy Dennis takes up the story…

Yellow HA

April 1st

Yellow HA was still at Santona estuary at 09:33GMT but not long after set off NNE straight over the Bay of Biscay. At 13:44 he flew over Ile d’Yeu and then over St Nazaire before settling for the night close to Etang de Comper, near Mauron.  A day’s flight of 531 km, 428 km over the ocean.

Yellow HA flew 428km over the Bay of Biscay

Yellow HA flew 428km over the Bay of Biscay

April 2nd and 3rd

On 2nd April, Yellow HA departed the French coast at 11:13GMT and made a straight line for the Channel Islands, passing west side of Jersey at 12:05 at 897 metres above the sea. He passed over the Casquets at 12:51 and rose to cross the channel at 1500 m. The new transmitters giving data at minute intervals. At 13:58 (2:58pm BST) he was west of Portland Bill, coming ashore near Chideock. He headed for Bridgewater Bay and crossed to Barry in South Wales at 4:51pm. He headed NNW and roosted the nigh just north of the Dyfi estuary at Pennal-Isaf after a flight of 530km.

Next morning he fished on the Dyfi estuary and then rested in trees just 500 metres from the Dyfi Osprey nest between 09:25 and 10:42am – obviously just checking out the birds on site – before heading NNW. He only travelled 75 km before settling on Llyn Brenig, where he spent the rest of the day, presumably because the weather was too poor to continue his journey.

April 4th 

Yellow HA left Llyn Brenig at 11:00 and set off north and the NE to Prestatyn, where he flew out to sea on a NE course. His last signal this batch showed that he was heading for Blundell Sands at Crosby.  The weather is still poor for migrating and in Scotland it is cloudy and raining; his mate Morven was looking ‘very drookit’ this morning on her perch.

Blue XD, meanwhile, has been held up by poor weather in northern France.The latest data shows that he has spent the past two days 40-50km east of Rennes.  Check out the interactive WOW map for the latest positions of the two birds. You can read more about Roy’s Osprey studies in Scotland, on his website.

Much further south, the two Finnish WOW Ospreys are heading north through Africa. Pertti Saurola has sent the lastest update…


March 31st

The first fix after the night was not received until 14:00 Tanzanian time (11:00 GMT), so we do not know exactly when Heikki resumed his journey. At that time, Heikki was flying at an altitude of 450 m above sea level, i.e. only about 220 m above land according to the Google Earth map. The satellite measured his speed at 33 km per hour at that time. Heikki was on a determined northward course some 80-100 km from the coast. Heikki progressed 174 km this day.

April 1st

At 10:00, local time, Heikki was flying 30 km from his stopover location, so he had apparently started out around 9 o’clock. His altitude above land was about 260 m. During the following six hours, Heikki travelled 192 km, so his average speed was 32 km per hour. This day, he covered a total of 264 km.

April 2nd

Heikki flew a total of 306 km this day, and ended up on the southern slopes of the famous volcano, Kilimanjaro, for the night. In autumn 2013, Heikki passed Mount Kilimanjaro to the east. So far, Heikki’s route has not deviated more than a few dozen kilometres from his autumn 2013 route. At first, his spring migration kept to the west of his autumn route, then to the east, and now he is back to the west. The largest difference was recorded today at noon local time (09:00 GMT), when Heikki was flying in an area 107 km west of his stopover location on 29-30 October 2013.

The latest data shows that Heikki roosted just south of Mount Kilimanjaro on the night of 2nd April

The latest data shows that Heikki roosted just south of Mount Kilimanjaro on the night of 2nd April


March 31st

The route Ilmari has taken the past few days has veered as much as 170 km east of the route he took in spring 2013. That may be why Ilmari headed towards the northwest this morning, ending up some twenty kilometres from his route of last spring for the night, after covering 161 km.

April 1st

The first fix after Ilmari left his stopover place was not received until 15:00 Nigerian time (13:00 GMT). It showed that Ilmari had continued to the northwest and gone west of his spring 2013 route. After that, Ilmari first turned northwards, and finally to the north-northeast. This somewhat strange-looking day trip measured a total of 400 km. Now he settled down for the night 140 km west of his spring 2013 route. He needs to cross Sahara in a way that expends as little energy as possible. Why has such an expert at navigating had to make so many twists and turns? We cannot explain the reasons for Ilmari’s strange route with wind conditions, at least not on the basis of the reports from the weather station at the Zinder airport.

Ilmari has made fairly slow progress through Niger over the past few days.

Ilmari’s flight through Niger over the past three days has been less direct than expected.

We are very grateful to 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 Heikki in WOW.

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

To find out more about WOW and the Osprey Flyways Project, click here.