UV’s watery wanderings

On 13 September UV roosted in sandy scrub near the coast in Setubal Province. The next morning he set off after 08.27 GMT and by 09.00 settled a short distance SSW by the Lagoa de Melides, a place known for visiting ospreys according to Aves Portugal. He left there before 10.00, possibly having fished, to continue his coastal exploration. Slowly! By 10.31 he was near the beach north of Sines; an hour later he was flying around on and off shore and could have fished. Here is an image of a lagoon in the middle of the stretch of coast he was on. After an afternoon by the sea he moved inland to roost in agricultural land. He covered about 40 km in the day.

A day by the sea then a roost a bit further inland

A day by the sea then a roost a bit further inland

On 15 September UV left his roost between 08.00 and 08.36. By 09.50 he reached a reservoir, the Barragem de Morgavel. He stayed there until about 13.00, an early siesta?!

Close up of the Barragem de Morgavel

Close up of the Barragem de Morgavel

Relative inactivity reduces the number of fixes, so it isn’t possible to determine if UV hunted during his stay.

In the afternoon he travelled on further SE; since then he has been in an area of reservoirs, large and small, in the Setubal and Beja provinces and he is having a look at many of them!

The largest reservoirs are easily visible

The largest reservoirs are easily visible

On 17 September he travelled about 100 km ranging in a figure of eight around the area. He travelled less far on 16 and 18 September. Here is one of the smaller reservoirs he visited on 17 September, the Barragem da Fonte Serne. He arrived at around 12.50 and left about 13.30.

A possible lunch break at the Barragem da Fonte Serne

A possible lunch break at the Barragem da Fonte Serne

So UV seems to be on a stopover. Is it only because of the southerly winds mentioned in an earlier post? By early next week there will be more favourable conditions for migration to Africa. So we wait for UV’s next move.

Here is another ‘comparison’ map of his and cousin 7H’s travel. Although a few days apart the weather conditions were similar. And their routes were extremely similar along the coast, as you can see.

UV and 7H routes overlapping, and parallel, in central coastal Portugal

UV and 7H routes overlapping, and parallel, in central coastal Portugal

 

 

 

 

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7H still heading south in Portugal, slowly. And a bit about UV and VV.

We left 7H at mid morning on Monday when she was fishing on the river Mondego; and that is what she did all day! A panoramic photo here shows she chose a lovely spot; her final roost was to the other side of the bridge but near a similar bend to that in the image.

Back to rural roosts for 7H

Back to rural roosts for 7H

As the osprey flies 7H moved about 25 km but with her trips up and down various stretches of the river she did do more, honest!

A short day spent exploring the river Mondego

A short day spent exploring the river Mondego

On 16 and 17 September she picked up the pace, travelling about 100 km on Tuesday and over 150 km on Wednesday. On Tuesday 7H was on the wing before 08.30 GMT but then stopped on the river for, presumably, breakfast. By 10.00 she was off again for a bout of sustained travel until 13.20. She was flying at about 35 kph much of the time and between 250 and 470m altitude. She crossed the river Soure and had a rest for about 30 minutes; the high number of fixes didn’t suggest she had fished. She had another break in the afternoon, not near water, before reaching her woodland roost for the night about 10 km from the coast and NE of Leiria.

On Wednesday she went off to the coast at about 09.00 then tracked down it at 200-250m mostly, but sometimes lower. She had one short stop until soon after 12.30 when she did one of the ‘gain height, circle round’ manoevres both she and UV have practised. She shifted from a SSW to SW course, flying higher again as she neared Boa Vista then headed SE. She had a spell of high altitude flying (up to 1000m) near Caldas da Rainha with several course tweaks, and once south of there flew towards Lisbon at around 500m. Mostly she was at speeds of 30-35 kph and sometimes faster.

She stopped in trees just before 17.00 near the A10 road, north of Alverca do Ribatejo on the Tejo (Tagus). Not the best view for her!

7H can watch the traffic from her roost

7H can watch the traffic from her roost

7H travel 15-17 Sept

7H travel 15-17 Sept

7H’s cousin UV is still ahead of her; a data download came in as this was in draft. He has spent several days south of Sines in the Setubal peninsula exploring reservoirs and looks like he may stopover for more days yet. There’ll be more on him tomorrow.

We haven’t received any data on VV since 11 September when she was at the edge of the Atlas Mountains. If she has crossed them and the Sahara, which she really should have by the end of today, we should receive an update very soon. Possibly she has found a stopover relatively near her last position in Morocco that is not within range of a mobile phone mast for the data download. In 2011 the Dyfi juvenile Einion had a long stay nearer the Moroccan coast before heading on to Senegal, as have other migrators. But we are longing to hear from her, ring home very soon, VV!

 

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7H heads for the bright lights!

The last 7H update was on her first day in Spain when she was travelling south. She stopped in the afternoon on a narrow part of the river Navia, north of the Embalse de Salime. She rose to over 1000m flying down the river apparently looking for a good spot to settle, before dropping to a roost height of 130m.

Choosing a good roost spot

Choosing a good roost spot

She had flown less than 100 km in the day but after her Bay of Biscay exploits was due a relaxing afternoon having the odd flight along the river.

A close up view of the roost by the Navia

A close up view of the roost by the Navia

By 10.11 on 13 September 7H was heading away from the area gaining height to over 2000m at times as she flew at speeds mainly between 45 and 65 kph from late morning until 16.30. She had small detours soon after 14.00 when near the Encoro do Bao and two other Encoros (Galician for dam says Google) but did not fish. Soon after 16.00 she crossed into Portugal and decided on an urban experience, roosting on the outskirts of Chaves, 10 km south of the Spanish border. The population is over 40000 so a far cry from Kielder!

A very different outlook to the previous night

A very different outlook to the previous night

The image above shows her at a small lake initially before she went nearer the city centre to roost. It may have been too noisy, too bright or both because in the early hours she flew a short way north to a less populated area. She had flown around 230 km by the time she reached Chaves.

On 14 September she had moved into a more wooded area by about 07.00; with only hourly fixes until after 09.00 it isn’t clear if she fished before leaving. 7H flew S/SSE with several minor excursions whern she would fly higher and appear to have a good look around. The third time she did this was over small lakes and the river Covo, near Touro, and she had two 15 minute stops suggesting she fished. She then flew on to an industrial area on the edge of Nelas. She had covered around 200 km before reaching there.

Today she set off at about 08.30 but an hour later was by the river Mondego near Seixas. By midday she had travelled a short distance along its path, apparently fishing.

Here is an image of her travel over the period.

7H travelling generally SSE through Spain and Portugal

7H travelling generally SSE through Spain and Portugal

The last image shows how she and cousin UV were at approximately the same point on different days in the Bay of Biscay, and how they have taken roughly parallel paths since landfall. Will they meet as 7H slowly catches the even slower UV?

UV and 7H in Iberia

UV and 7H in Iberia

 

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UV takes it easy

Since the last update on UV he has continued to travel slowly down the Portuguese coastal area.

On 11 September he left his roost by 09.12 but had a number of stops during the day, usually by a river or pond. He travelled only about 100 km before roosting near Figueira da Foz, a coastal city and industrial centre. When he was flying he was generally moving at between 27 and 37 kph; he has only been significantly faster on his first day of migration and when he crossed to Brittany.

UV roosts near the coast

UV roosts near the coast

On 12 September he was moving by 08.12 and didn’t stop (apart from a 1 minute halt when exploring the river Tejo for 5 minutes) until just after 15.00. He was at the Barragem Salvaterra de Magos and may have fished successfully because he had a 30 minute halt.

UV apparently hunting then in a tree

UV apparently hunting then he went to a tree

UV left the area at 16.00 and went past two small lakes before finding a roost just north of the river Sorraia. He had covered over 150 km, a good day’s travel for him, ending up not far from Lisbon.

UV roosts NE of Lisbon

UV roosts NE of Lisbon

On 13 September UV didn’t set off until about 10.30. He headed towards the coast and reached the estuary of the Sado at Setubal, where there is a Nature Reserve. He flew along the mouth of the river and may have caught a fish from the timings and behaviour.

Was this a successful fishing attempt?

Was this a successful fishing attempt?

Sustained by lunch, perhaps, UV then flew on from 14.12 to 16.04 in a southerly direction. He was mainly at speeds of 27-37 kph again, and around 200m or less altitude over the flat coastal area. He had a half hour stop at a small lake before flying to a roost point in sandy scrub. He was there from just before 18.00 until the last fix early today. He’d covered about 110 km in the day.

UV's route on 13 September

UV’s route on 13 September

The winds in West Portugal have been moderate to fresh and S/SW which may be contributing to UV’s lack of haste. Or maybe he is planning to stay in Iberia rather than head for Africa. Time will tell!

 

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7H’s journey from Wales to Spain

First, apologies for my failure to realise 7H had hitched a ride in the first version of yesterday’s post. As promised in that post, here is more on her stay in the Scillies and arrival in Spain, plus clarification of her Bay of Biscay crossing.

There was no data from 06.10 GMT on 9 September when 7H was still at her overnight roost in Wales until 14.12, when she was at sea heading NE of the Scillies. She changed course to curve towards the islands and by 14.50 was over Tresco and Bryher briefly before heading down over St Mary’s to Gugh via some trips back and forth along the channel between them. She spent the rest of daylight exploring Gugh and the sea before roosting on the east side of the island. BirdGuides reported several sightings on Gugh which almost certainly were 7H. She had flown over 300 km in the day, at over 50 kph for most of the recorded sea crossing.

7H explores Gugh

7H explores Gugh

On 10 September 7H was flying on a course which would have resulted in her landing on the NW edge of Spain, but she started to curve slightly SE. She was flying at between 35 and 45 kph for the most part. Until she boarded a ship at 17.48, over 15 minutes after she had started flying north and east, she had travelled about 400 km. She then went 25-260 km NE during her overnight roost!

On 10 September she headed off after 05.56, initially SSE then SSW then S to reach landfall at a point very near where her course on 9 September would have taken her. She flew about 580 km from the ship to Spain. It would have been easier to fly ESE to France instead of a 15 hour plus journey over water. Her landfall was just 90 km east of cousin UV’s.

Comparison UV and 7H Spanish landfall

Comparison UV and 7H Spanish landfall

A ground level view of 7H's landing place and roost on rocks just off shore

A ground level view from 7H’s landing place and roost on rocks just off shore

On 12 September 7H had a slow start, exploring the coastline both east and west of her roost until after 11.30 when she had a spell of sustained travel west until 12.13 when she turned inland near Luarca. By 12.30 she was mostly at an altitude of over 500m which rose to over 1000m as she reached the Sierra de Rañadoiro. Her speed was mostly over 40 kph, at times around 60 kph. At the last fix at 13.41 she was still flying.

9-12 September 7H travel

10-12 September 7H travel

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A truly epic crossing of the Bay of Biscay by 7H

There had been no data update on 7H since early on 9 September until today; the reason is now clear, she was having a flight of nearly 39 hours non stop over the Bay of Biscay. How incredible, and what a strong juvenile she must be. EDIT: Actually not under her own steam all the way , after turning to the north and flying around a bit, she must have hitched a lift on a cargo ship heading NE; she possibly only realised she wasn’t on another island when it got light! So deduct 12 hours.

She headed off from the Scillies at 06.55 on 10 September where she had been since just before 15.00 on 9 September. (At the moment there is no data covering her journey there from Wales.)

She headed south, on track for a crossing to the NW of Spain. A very long trip in itself for a juvenile on her fourth day of migration. But at 17.00 she turned round when virtually half way to Spain. EDIT: She flew around mainly moving east or north and then must have boarded a ship; by dawn she had actually passed the NW coast (SW England next stop!) she abandoned ship and headed south  at just before 06.00 on 11 September. An interesting overnight roost!

She eventually made landfall about 35 km west of Aviles at 21.40. Actually, she was on offshore rocks and she stayed on them all night. She had still been flying at 37 kph or more before landing..

There will be more on her stay in the Scillies and on what she did next in another post. For now, just marvel at this journey of over 1200 km. With 250 km of that on a ship, so still nearly 1000 km, albeit not at one go. With thanks to Tiger and Paul especially for getting a blogger on the right track!

7H's fantastic journey

7H’s fantastic journey

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UV drifts south

The last post on UV saw him roosting on 8/9 September by the River Lima. On 9 and 10 September he drifted slowly down Portugal near the coast, checking out rivers on the way! On Tuesday morning he stayed around the roost area until a fix at 12.52 GMT showed him heading SSW. Generally he was at an altitude of 500m or less and travelling at around 40 kph. He had a fly around the river Cavado between Esposende and Fão for 5 minutes or so but without stopping.

UV makes a high level inspection!

UV makes a high level inspection!

He was at the coastline by 14.18 and under 100m altitude, but returned inland and started to follow the course of the river Ave at 14.41. After an hour in the same spot in late afternoon he flew a bit further along to his overnight roost spot. His travel for the day amounted to about 55 km over around two hours flying!

UV follows the river Ave

UV follows the river Ave

On 10 September UV managed to get going before 09.00 and he headed out over the sea  near Porto before turning inland and flying more or less south until 12.24 when he went back on himself. He climbed from around 500m to over 1100m over the next few minutes as he went north then south again at 12.30. Was he having a look around for a lunch spot? He lost height over the next 20 minutes and was stationary at just 29m altitude at 12.50. He was by water again, a tributary of the Vouga east of Aveiro. And apart from a few short trips in the local area, that was where he roosted overnight. He was still there early today.

He’d flown about 90 km on 10 September; at this rate it will be some weeks before he reaches his wintering grounds!

UV's travel on 10 September

UV’s travel on 10 September

 

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