Yes!!!! He’s made again to winter quarters on the island of Bioko, Equatorial Guinea! This will be his third visit to the island since his initial flight in 2013.
First satellite hit on the destination 2pm, October 12th for 2016. No 14 is probably fishing now off the South coast, rainforest area. (photo Wikipedia Commons Falcanary)
As a reminder here is the first part of his journey this year. Left Lake District on September 16th and reached Algeria by 19th September. (From there he has taken a slower course Algeria 19th September to Bioko 12th October)
Now here’s an interesting map! It shows Bega, to the west, No 14 to the east and the last known position of our missing chick VO in 2015.
Bega seems to be exploring the coast down to Guinea Bissau, This is a low lying country – highest point 984′ (300M) above sea level, with a large estuarine and island mangrove coast line. This initially looks good for an osprey population but according to statistics it is one of the poorest nations in the world due to constant political coups, and there are severe problems with agriculture and overfishing. How, might this impact on fish eating bird life in the area? However, Bega has already done better than V0, the chick from 2015, who we lost transmissions from further North last year(red and yellow spot on N Senegal border).
No 14 has flown from Burkina Faso through Togo and Benin to Nigeria and looks to be heading back to Bioko. Hooray!
St Louis, the old French capital of Senegal. This looked like a good place to stop as, considering its proximity to the Sahel, it is a very watery place. Indeed, so watery that it is considered to be the place most threatened by rising sea levels in the whole of Africa.
There are large marshland areas adjoining the city that in the rainy season (just finishing) are created by the Senegal River overflowing and making grand habitat for flamingos and pelicans etc. There is also the Langue de Barberie , a spit of sand for which (tongue in cheek) I feel I should have an affinity. It stretches 600km along the coast from Mauritania, 25km of which separates the Senegal River from the Atlantic Ocean. (Sept 27th – 28th)
Surely a fishing paradise.
( St Louis – Ji Elle Own work Public domain Wikipedia commons)
However, this didn’t seem to suit and she is now heading for the current Capital of Dakar.(Oct 6th)
No14 is still lingering on the Ghana Togo Border]
The Sahara sand seems to be just about left behind, which means more water and perhaps fish, but also more people. Map above 26th Sept. Map below 29th September. Is he still on course for Bioko?
Two downloads to look at. One for Bega and one for No 14. In comparison they are of great interest as they show the huge area that our UK birds cover in their migrations.
Number 14 is in Mali, the very centre of the Sahara on his way back to Bioko.
Bega has just crossed the Atlas mountains and seems to be on her way to Senegal area..
As of Friday:
Both Bega and her brother No 14 are now in the air.
Bega crossed the channel, and left the Normandy coastline on the 14th then headed for Bordeaux and at the last download was at Poitou- Charentes. This area is renowned for the migratory movements of its people, as it is the region of origin of most of the Arcadian and Cajun populations of Canada, where of course the N American osprey populations are just starting to move on their journeys to Central and South America.
Number 14 is on his third trip south. Left Cumbria at 10.00 Thursday and then motored to Garstang 11.00, West Birmingham 1400 and the last signal Marlborough, Wiltshire 1600, heading for New Forest area.
Sometimes we see transport planes flying ponderously down Bassenthwaite Lake. and sometimes we hear jets cracking the sound barrier. Bega seems to be modelling herself on the former as she toddles down England.
Weds 7th 12.00 – 13.00 crossed Morecambe bay. Over Manchester Thursday lunchtime. Saturday 10th 18.00 at Barton in the Beans (would you believe) West of Leicester.
Yesterday morning just North west of Winchester. and at 18.00 yesterday night was near the M3, north of Southhampton the Otterburn, Cranbury park area.
Will she flap over to France?
No 14 still in South Lakes.
The Apron strings, or maybe the Braces, have broken. Bega is flying free if not too wild.
On Saturday 3rd Bega (and No 14) were still in their usual summer grounds, but on Sunday 1st Bega started moving down the country, not in the usual focussed flight we have seen in many of our other birds, that eats up the miles in one burst to get them well away from home, but in a sort of meander that took her near to Fowlshaw.
On Tuesday 6th she was still in that area, although it does not look like she has come across No 14.
Although this pattern of behaviour is slightly different, it may be the right thing for Bega. Whilst manning the viewpoints up to August 29th, no-one actually saw Bega catch a fish, so the rich area of sandy shallow estuary and flats of South Lakes would be a good place to linger in and begin to take your fishing career more seriously.
In some years our birds have left by the end of August joining the smaller summer migrants on the travel routes back to the warmth of the South. However, this year, although KL left a couple of weeks ago, Bega and Unring are hanging on here. Pike and trout are in plentiful supply and Unring pulls them out of the Lake like a magician pulling rabbits out of hats. Bega – his beautiful assistant – then eats them. There seems little incentive for her to develop any digital dexterity to tickle trout, when Dad will do all the work. Her efforts at hunting consist of sitting on a post in the water and occasionally jumping in with a splash after the ripples. Her satellite tracker confirms that she is not fishing secretly at the other end of the Lake after we have gone home. All this has made for near guaranteed sightings of the birds over the past weeks from the telescopes at the Dodd Viewpoints, and even a chance of seeing Bega on the CCTV screens at Whinlatter on the nest toying with the latest meal.
However, ready or not, the human side of the osprey season has to have an end and this is always at the end of August. So, tomorrow, Monday Bank Holiday will be the last time the 2 sites are manned this year.
Not to give up entirely though. We hope to be continuing with this diary over the coming weeks as we have not one but two birds with trackers on.
Currently, Number 14 our marathon 2013 bird is still flying around South Lakes but like Bega the urge to move South may kick in at any time. Unlike Bega he is now an expert fisherman and experienced traveller. We are crossing our fingers that both will survive the journey.
Bega, big and beautiful, but still only 3 months old when all is said and done. She continues to fly over and around the Lake, often following Unring. However, like many young princesses she does not seem so inclined to do things for herself when Dad is there to do it for her! If he catches a fish she makes sure that she is positioned near to the nest, ready for him to pass it to her. Unring has been trying to entice her off by flying overhead with tasty trout and not giving instant delivery – to tempt her to go and fish for herself. But like many Dads, his willpower is weaker than hers and the fish always lands up on the nest, just where she wants it.
Even princesses have their annoyances though!