It’s beginning to look as if Number 14 has gone on a holiday visit to the mainland. Over the last few days he has moved east along the coast, crossing the point where he came ashore from Bioko last week. The thunder storms from last week have also disappeared so that may have something to do with it, just thirty degrees and a little rain forecast for this week – just like Cumbria then, but without twenty eight degrees.
Next big question is will he cross the border into Cameroon – yellow wiggly line right hand side of map ? Is this another country for the L.D.O.P Quiz team?
As the snow flurries blow around your ankles think of poor old Number 14 with temperatures hovering around 29 degrees centigrade – but humid and stormy with it.
The interesting bit, however, is that as Chinese New Year brought in the year of the sheep our young bird has taken a trip over the Bight of Bonny to the Niger delta region. He roosted for a night north-west of Ataba and then continued west. The next question is, will he now return to Bioko, as he did last February? Will he fly north to face the long route across the Sahara ? Or will he keep flying west towards Gambia and Senegal?
Does he already have the sound of Cumbrian sheep in mind?
We are out of hibernation – watch this space!
Last Friday the Lake District Osprey Project staff and volunteers met at the Siskin cafe, Whinlatter Forest Centre to celebrate the 2014 osprey season. During the course of the evening Pete Barron one of the founding fathers of the project was honoured for the second time this year. This time friends and colleagues presented Pete with a mounted photograph of 5S our bird from 2004 that was seen and photographed by Bjorn Einrem in Norway in 2007. In his comments after the presentation Pete mentioned how the project had evolved from a small local project to an international one. We currently not only have several birds in Africa but also have had returned chicks influencing nests in other parts of the UK. Nathan Fox conducted the presentation and is the person to contact at Whinlatter if you wish to volunteer for the 2015 season.
8A on the west coast seems to have mislaid his mobile once again – technical hitch, but our osprey friend on Bioko, Number 14 has now taken himself from the west side of Bioko back to the southern side. It’s an area he has been to before with lots of fish.
We now have two young ospreys in Africa. The red spots to the top right of the map show the route of Number 15 in 2013. It sadly stopped in the Sahara Desert on the 4th October 2013.
The middle line of red dots show the route taken by Number 14 on his way to Bioko where, yesterday, he was still roosting and fishing as young birds do.
The line of red dots to the left is of this year’s youngster 8A. A month ago he left Bassenthwaite and after giving us a bit of a fright in Portugal, has made it as far as Senegal – and beyond. It probably means that his migration has now finished but he now has the task of finding a suitable place to spend his time for the next few years, much as Number 14 did. He seems to be taking his task seriously as he has over the last few weeks taken a look at Gambia, Guinea Bissau, other parts of Senegal, dipped a toe into Guinea – for about twenty minutes – and is now on the borders of Mali and once again Mauritania. It may seem that going inland, away from all that nice coastal fishing isn’t the most brilliant thing for a young osprey to do. He is, however, at the head of the great Niger River and therefore, hopefully, not short of water of fish. He is also as it happens about a hundred miles west of where Number 14 was on the 24th September 2013.
The question is where to next? The north and the serious Sahara would not be wise. South-east following the river…..interesting! Back west along the Senegal River, another possibility.
Number of countries covered so far….12.
Please ignore the gap in 8A’s line, he didn’t go underground. It’s the technology it doesn’t quite catch up, a bit like the writer.
Like the Phoenix rising from the ashes, 8A has returned to us from a hot desert. We received a satellite download early this morning – yes it was a technical fault, well out of our control – Our bird over the last week has put on another thousand miles and probably lost a bit of weight in the process. He spent Sunday afternoon, yesterday, following the west african coast southwards towards Nouakchott, Mauritania (another old friend returns) an area well supported with fish. The record shows that over the last week he has spent at least three nights roosting in the desert, a bit different from Bassenthwaite. For those with a geography bent the record restarts south of Rabat in Morrocco, follows the river systems and mountains to Quarzatzate, Morrocco, then into the desert north of Tindouf, Algeria. He then crossed a section of western desert until meeting the sea once again north of Nouakchott, Mauritania.
Unfortunately since Sunday 7th September two downloads from the satellite have been missed. We would have expected to receive one on Tuesday and another on Thursday but have not done so. Possible technical problems are being looked into but always in the back of our mind is the figure that only thirty to forty percent of ospreys survive the first year. The last record we have so far from 8A is his flight from near Castro Verde to Benafrim which is a distance of approximately 55.51 flying miles (89.36 km). It is interesting to note that he turned away from the first opportunity of crossing to Africa and that he flew over a large lake with possible opportunities to fish before arriving at the last site near Banafrim. The last break in transmission at 1500 was perfectly normal. Since leaving Bassenthwaite almost a week earlier he had flown over twelve hundred miles ( approx 2075 km).
Leira to Castro Verde, Portugal. 154.40 miles, 248.48 km.
Somerset to northern Spain via The English Channel and the Bay of Biscay. 546.02 miles (direct) 878.73 km. Left Somerset early morning, reached Spain midnight.