Ponds, pylons and other places

7H

This week 7H has exhibited changes in behaviour culminating in a new roost area overnight since 28/29 October and exploration of new areas to the west.

So what has she been up to?

On 26 October she was at the Resort pond by 07.11 GMT. It has been established that there are no fish in it so her food must be coming from the river or sea. She left the pond about 10.15 and was flying up and down her favourite stretch of the river by 10.27 at heights between 1m and 22m for some minutes. But she only had a couple of short spells in trees thereafter so presumably didn’t make a catch. Although she can eat very quickly! After more time over the river and in her usual roost areas nearby she went back to the pond and was perching at 13.16. She was there until 16.21 and then came her first bit of new behaviour; she spent the next hour plus on a couple of electricity pylons south of the pond, only leaving as the light faded to return to her usual overnight roost area.

The two pylons from a historic image

The two pylons from a historic image

The image above shows the pylons themselves better than the current Google Earth imagery. They are very near an industrial complex which may be a municipal waste management plant being planned in 2009. One aim was to generate electricity to feed into Morocco’s national grid and the pylons for that are perhaps what attracted 7H!

The industrial complex and pylons

The industrial complex and pylons

On 27 October she was at the pond early again (06.44) until around 09.30 when she flew up the coast and then along the river. Her altitude was between 3m and 22m before she headed off to a roost area for 70 minutes, so she may have fished successfully. She then travelled up the coast east of the river, stopping twice for a few minutes on the beach near where she perched on 23 October. After that she went inland and after flying at up to 144m identified a new pond to sit by! It is a recent construction, not appearing on 18 month old imagery.

Another insignificant looking bit of water!

Another insignificant looking bit of water!

Here is her travel for part of the afternoon.

Along the coast and then inland to a new pond

Along the coast and then inland to a new pond

The rest of that day was more routine, with a short stay on a previously used perch on the east side of the river before more flying along it.

On 28 October she may have had an early catch because she was roosting quite near the river until 10.42 when she was heading for the Resort pond. Although she flew over it she settled for a couple of hours on an area just south. For the rest of the afternoon she confined herself to a small area between the pond and pylons and she spent the night between two pylons, her first time away from a roost within a couple of hundred yards or so of the river.

On 29 October she was out flying over the sea to the west by 08.00 before heading back along the coast and then inland to Pylon City! By the time the last fix came in she had perched on five pylons for varying periods of time as well as going further west than previously. On her trip back along the coast after one excursion she had a couple of stops on the beach by the Royal Golf Course. Below is an image of 7H’s change of focus away from the river.

7H sticks to the coast and pylons

7H sticks to the coast and pylons

STOP PRESS! Just as this was being finalised the data arrived and 7H has spent most of today pylon hopping. Just one early trip to the river. A probable attraction of the pylons is their height; at approx 53m tall they are over twice the height of most of the trees 7H has been using.

UV

In the 6 days since an update on UV he has scarcely flown outside a 500m² range. He had an excuse on 28 October because the sunny and warm spell was replaced by a day of thunderstorms caused by a slow moving trough almost parallel to the coast. Although the most frequent fixes are roughly once every 15 minutes (and mostly they are at least 30 minutes apart) he was flying only twice at the times they were made.

It was still wet on Wednesday for a time, although the temperature remained around 25°C. After a return to sun on Thursday (and 26°C) the temperatures are expected to fall by Monday to around 18-20°C  with showers then heavy rain by midweek. Will the more inclement conditions cause UV to think of moving on? It was wet – and windy – a couple of weeks ago but he just sat it out. The last fix on today’s e-mail (10.13) was him flying very near the coast in the area he visited last week. It is always frustrating when he is going somewhere and there won’t be any more news until the next day!

UV has almost always moved position between dawn and sunrise, usually to a point right by the water. He heads for his overnight roost spot in the hour before sunset. So he is out and about when it’s light, even if he doesn’t travel far usually.

For readers interested in osprey migration Paul Wildlifewriter has written the first part of a series on ‘Migration in Detail’ on his blog. A fascinating read. No downwind tacking for the Kielder pair at the moment with their limited ranges!

Grateful thanks to Paul for some of the research and weather related information in this post. Any errors are mine.

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Old and new for 7H

The weather in Azemmour has been in the mid 30s Centigrade for the last week with light winds. 7H is doing considerably more flying than cousin UV so there are many more fixes showing her location. She has exhibited some minor changes to her range, but can’t leave that pond at the Mazagan Beach Resort alone for more than a couple of days at most! She’s been on the beach more than usual in the lovely weather and has returned to roost during the day in areas of land east of the river for the first time since early in her stopover.

On 18 October after an hour by the Resort pond 7H flew along the river before heading up to the coast where she sat on the beach near this spot for about 10 minutes.  She then flew further north and paused again; the image below shows the two points.

A couple of stops on the beach for 7H

A couple of stops on the beach for 7H

On 19 October the main item of interest was a two hour period of non-stop flying, mainly up and down the river but occasionally a short way inland. This was between 12.49 GMT and 14.48 so it would have been very warm indeed.

On 20 October she spent four spells sitting on trees on the east side of the river a little inland; as stated above she hasn’t perched on that side of the river for nearly a month. This is the view from near the bottom two points if she was facing south west. Below is an image showing the roosts, one of her overnight roosts (Roost 6) as well as her travel over roughly 24 hours from early afternoon on 19 October to just after 16.00 on 20 October.

7H travel on 19 and 20 October

7H travel on 19 and 20 October

The next day she was back to the Resort for an hour or so by the pond before going to the east again. There isn’t an obvious reason why she has started to use that area; for instance it appears to have less shelter from the heat of the sun than the more wooded land west of the river. Or the trees by the pond!

Second day on the east side of the river

Second day on the east side of the river

From then until early on 25 October she has continued to sit by the pond for at least an hour every day and has been back to the eastern day roosts and the beach. She obviously likes regular changes of scene! The final image shows her activity from about noon on 23 October to 09.00 on 25 October when she was at the pond. Roost 5 is an area she has spent the night and also visits during the day.

7H from midday 23 Oct to 09.00 25 Oct

7H from midday 23 Oct to 09.00 25 Oct

 

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UV takes it easy in sunny Portugal

UV is looking very settled in Portugal. This week the weather has been mainly sunny with temperatures in the mid to high 20s Centigrade, rather better than the previous wet and windy spell.

Since the last post UV has ventured to the coast a couple of times but otherwise has only ranged over 0.5 km or so.

His first trip to the sea was on 17 October. He arrived there sometime before 13.00 GMT -fixes were only every 20 to 40 minutes in the morning and a few were inaccurate, probably due to UV being in trees and out of reach of enough satellites. From the available data he only spent a short time flying up the coast towards Sines before heading inland. He flew over the Morgavel river finally roosting in trees beside it. The image below is the current Google Earth view, with the river hard to identify. The pegs show UV looking as though he may be heading away then he decided to explore for a while.

Morgavel river and some of UV's points when he started exploring the area

Morgavel river and some of UV’s points when he started exploring the area

The next map is from historical imagery. The dam at the edge, Barragem de Morgavel, was completed in 1980 and water releases affect the amount of water in the river between it and the sea. Wetter months are most likely to see releases so now the water level is probably more like this September image although the channel appears silted.

Morgavel river in  September 2004

Morgavel river in September 2004

UV roosted between 13.41 and 14.51, with a short fly around during that time.

UV's roost spot on the river

UV’s roost spot on the river

The populated looking area just to the west is a camping/caravan site with some fixed holiday homes, Camping São Torpes.

On leaving the river UV flew along the north side of the Barragem de Morgavel but didn’t explore. He had a siesta on the east side of it on 15 September, the day he started stopover. Or whatever this is! Ospreys do overwinter in Portugal although research hasn’t found any UK ospreys reported since 2012 when a Scottish 3 year old male White 65 overwintered on the river Tejo (Tagus) near Lisbon.

On 20 October UV returned to the coast in the late morning and flew south down it for a short distance before turning inland. Again he flew past the Barragem de Morgavel without detouring over it.  Otherwise UV has not gone far. With not much flying fixes are often 20 minutes apart during the day – the microprocessor reduces their frequency if there is limited activity. It is harder to detect successful fishing but he does tend to be in trees on the edge of the water between 07.00 and 08.00 most days, so probably makes an early catch. Recently he has been more consistent in his choice of overnight roost, using the same area 17-22 October.

7H is still near Azemmour in Morocco. There will be a post about her activity in the last week in the next couple of days.

 

 

 

 

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Migration ‘up’date: up to nothing!

The two juveniles are still at their respective stopover locations. The weather early in the week would have been no encouragement to move on. The image below  shows the Atlantic depression on 15 October when it was heading east. It also indicates that the usual Azores “high” is off-position, and what’s left of it is centred over the Canary Islands – making life difficult for our ospreys and also for the sailing competitors in the Volvo Ocean Race, which started from Valencia on Saturday. Thanks to Paul for the analysis.

Surface wind map from Earthschool, additions courtesy Paul Wildlifewriter

Surface winds map from Earthschool, additions Paul Wildlifewriter

The Earthschool website  has a great animation of the current surface winds. Hurricane “Gonzalo” is now a bit further northeast. The Portuguese coast is still experiencing moderate to fresh southerly winds.

On 14 October UV did make a couple of trips for a change of scene, although one was to the Barragem de Fonte Cerne where he’s been before. The second was to a small reservoir. With his limited travel mostly fixes are only every 20 minutes or so. Often he has moved in between those around his home patch, but he certainly isn’t going far. He is roosting overnight at one of four regular wooded areas and continues to move occasionally in the very early hours.

As for 7H, it was back to the Mazaran Beach Resort on Wednesday after a couple of days respite. At 11.44 GMT she was nearing it but over the sea. She had a very brief stop on the beach next to the golf course, no more than a couple of minutes, but soon went to the small lake. She flew around it, was stationary by it for only 10 minutes, then headed back towards the river.

Back to the resort for 7H

Back to the resort for 7H

On her flight back to the river you can see a bright blue rectangle just below the top of the map which she deviated towards. It is a swimming pool next to a play area at a campsite so no fish there, one assumes! 7H spent another half hour or so flying up and down a small section of the river. So in total she was in the air for 2 hours with only a 10 minute break, her longest sustained flying for a while.

On Thursday she was back at the resort once more, from 09.54 to 11.44. She spent from 10.13 to 11.32 in trees by the lake so perhaps she fished. Or it’s just a good spot to sit for a while!

Back again

Back again on 16 Oct

The image above shows 7H’s visit to Marazan Beach Resort on Thursday and activity from mid afternoon on 14 October until mid afternoon on 16 October; the red dots for the 15 October visit to Marazan have been removed for ease of viewing. Low tide on 16 October was at 14.26 so 7H was at the mouth of the river a couple of hours or so before that and did not stay in the area. Her limited travel range is very clear, typical of either a stopover or wintering grounds.

The ‘Location Maps’ tab in the top bar of the blog now shows summary maps of the juveniles’ migration so far. Tweed Valley Ospreys have recently published details of their tracked juvenile FK8’s migration to the end of September. Her journey through the UK is very similar to UV’s and her latest track in SW Portugal reflects 7H’s last couple of days in Europe, with both taking westerly routes. Fascinating stuff to ospreyholics!

 

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Still nothing much to report

Neither of the juveniles has been exploring new areas over the last few days.

7H has re-visited the Mazagan Beach Club and especially the pond several times. Below is an image of it without lots of red dots! The bright green area is the golf course and beyond that some of the villas with their private pools. The area is on the edge of the whole complex so there should be little human activity to disturb 7H by the water.

An attraction for 7H

An attraction for 7H

The image below highlights two visits each day on 9 and 10 October and an early morning one on 11 October.

There is a lake there somewhere!

There is a lake there somewhere!

On 9 and 10 October 7H spent between 20 and 40 minutes each visit flying around and almost certainly did not fish. On 11 October the fixes were further apart and she possibly did make a catch because she was in the trees by the lake for well over an hour. But she hasn’t been back there since! So maybe not a very tasty breakfast.

7H has spent a bit of time at the coast although there doesn’t seem a close match with any particular tidal time. Today she was sitting on the sand just west of the estuary from 13.13 until 13.31 GMT. Low tide was at 11.02, high tide 17.11, so the water would have been rising. Yesterday she was stationary at the estuary at 08.15, a couple of hours before low tide, so the water level would have been falling. Her favourite area of the river is still her prime fishing spot – on 11 October she was flying quite low along it, down to 12m at 14.05, then she went straight back to one of her daytime roosts for a couple of hours. So possibly a catch. Or maybe just sightseeing!

As predicted, the weather in SW Portugal over the last few days hasn’t been particularly good and UV has done very little. On 9 October over 33mm of rain fell at Sines on the coast and it has been showery since with increasing winds. On Sunday at Sines gusts of 57 kph were recorded and 11mm of rain. It was wet again today. UV moved roosts three times overnight 9/10 October, perhaps a sign of inclement conditions. That is it for anything of note for him!

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Update. If the lack of activity merits the title!

7H and UV are still in their respective stopover spots, which may become their wintering grounds at this rate. (That will make them move on!)

On 5 October high tide for Azemmour was at 11.15. 7H was flying near the estuary just before then and landed on a sandbank further inland than on 4 Oct for half an hour after which she went down to her favourite part of the river. A fix of 5m above the water was followed by her heading back to a roost tree. Possibly for lunch!

In the afternoon 7H was sitting at the edge of the estuary again; she was nearer the water as it appears on Google Earth but was probably a similar distance from it to her earlier ‘high tide’ point. In mid afternoon she explored the river south of Azemmour but the fixes didn’t indicate that she caught a fish.

On 6 October 7H visited the estuary  at 09.43 but did not land. She flew along her preferred fishing area then travelled inland to the east before heading south to a bend in the river about 5 km from the estuary. She spent about 30 minutes criss-crossing the area before going north at over 400m to the coast. After flying level with the shore she moved to a small lake on the edge of the Mazagan Beach Resort. She spent about 15 minutes in the area.

The small lake by the Beach Resort

The small lake by the Magazan Beach Resort

The image below shows 7H’s travel on 5 and 6 October. The two circular areas are her 6 October journey. The fixes on the area of the river between the usual haunts and the furthest exploration are her 5 October visit.

7H goes a bit further afield

7H goes a bit further afield

On 7 and 8 October 7H didn’t go far although she visited the beach resort again on Tuesday.

7H visits the resort again

7H visits the resort again

Apart from that excursion it was the usual mixture of roosting, going to the estuary (but with only one short stop on the sandbank on 8 October at 11.21, midway between low and high tidetimes) and flying over her favourite area.

Interestingly the blog has had a hit from Morocco. Is it coincidence? Or has someone seen 7H? Azemmour has about 37000 inhabitants and she must have been seen over her favourite stretch of the river and possibly over the Beach Resort.

Meanwhile in Portugal UV has been doing even less. On 5 October UV stayed on his home patch apart from a visit to a small lake early in the morning. The next day he ventured slightly further afield, exploring a couple of other small lakes, but travelling no more than 30 km in the day. Since then he has been fairly sedentary, as a result of which the fixes even in the 09.00-17.00 period are usually at 20 minute intervals. It was quite wet in the area yesterday and the forecast for the next few days isn’t good for SW Portugal, with a succession of fronts rolling in from the Atlantic. The coast especially will see increasingly strong SW then W winds. (Thanks to Paul for the forecast.) So in all probability UV will stay put, and probably should.

 

 

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Day trippers

7H has continued to frequent a small stretch of the Oum Er Rbia near the estuary but she hasn’t landed for any length of time on the eastern side of the river. During her first few days in the area she liked to roost on three groups of trees a few hundred metres inland in the daytime, but recently she has tended to return during the day to one of her overnight roost spots on the west side of the river. The image below shows her activity over approximately 24 hours from the afternoon of 2 October to the afternoon of 3 October. The fixes on the east side were when she was flying and usually she was over 100m high, sometimes over 200m. The image also highlights 7H’s main fishing area, just north of the most populated part of Azemmour.

24 hours of 7H on the Oum  Er Rbia

24 hours of 7H on the Oum Er Rbia

On the night of 3/4 October she roosted at a new spot in the scrub, although she had visited it in the daytime. On 4 October she explored a bit further afield between about 13.00 GMT and 14.30, flying over Azemmour then to the east over a loop of the river. She was mainly over 200m high, at times up to 500m, and she circled a couple of times over agricultural land. At 14.28 she was back at the mouth of the river and landed on the shore for 8 minutes. Just possibly she was on wreck that features in a number of photos, although her altitude was zero. EDIT: she wasn’t on the wreck, that is it (now covered by sand) to the north of 7H. Thanks to Paul for finding it on the historic imagery.

7H on the shore

7H on the shore

The image below shows her day trip.

7H has a change of scene

7H has a change of scene

After his visit to the Barragem do Monte da Rocha on 1 October, when he covered about 200 km during the day, UV had a lazy Thursday only moving from roost to roost. But on Friday and Saturday he was back on the wing with the Barragem do Monte Da Rocha the main area of interest.

On Friday UV had a close look at a small reservoir near Cubeiras on the way to Monte da Rocha. After over half an hour of flying over it he headed straight for Monte da Rocha arriving at about 13.00. He went to the SE inlet and perched on whatever is protruding from the water there. Initial research indicated there may be small islands there but larger ones are shown on Google Earth nearer the dam, and UV’s height is roughly the same as when he is flying over the water. So are there tall structures in the water? As on 1 October he was on two offshore points in the inlet, but he was also stationary in the main body of water near the inlet. It seems an unlikely place for boats to be moored being the furthest place from the road access. A bit puzzling!

Although the fixes were at 1-2 minute intervals they didn’t suggest UV caught a fish – the reservoir holds barbel, carp and bass. By 16.20 UV was heading away from the water although he should have roosted there to save energy because he returned the next day. But first he visited the coast and flew south parallel with the shore for about 20 minutes before heading inland. As he flew east he went very near the Barragem de Santa Clara, where his cousin 7H stopped a couple of weeks ago. UV didn’t detour to it although he must have seen it as he was flying at up to 1350m over the mountains. On his arrival at Monte da Rocha at  just after 14.00 he explored the area near the dam before heading to the SE inlet, but he didn’t stop or fish. By 15.00 he was heading away at height. He had a couple of stops, one near the Barragem da Daroiera which he’d visited on 1 October, and another by a river, the Campilhas. He didn’t appear to fish anywhere although the fixes were less frequent by the time he was on the riverside. He flew about 200 km in the day. Here is an image showing his Monte da Rocha explorations on 3 (mainly the SE inlet) and 4 October.

UV at Monte da Rocha on 3 and 4 Oct

UV at Monte da Rocha on 3 and 4 Oct

And some of his 200 km of flying are in the last image, which also shows the pin for 7H’s roost spot.

UV on 4 October

UV on 4 October

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