On 17 September 7H roosted overnight just north of Lisbon. By 15.00 GMT on 20 September she was headed for the SW tip of Portugal and, perhaps, a Bay of Biscay length crossing to Morocco. How did she get there?
Her journey on Thursday started before 08.40 when she was moving alongside the river towards Lisbon. She flew over the city soon after 10.00 and onto the Setubal peninsula. 7H followed the coast south until just after 11.30 when she stopped at the Lagoa de Albufeira, a coastal lagoon. She had a brief 5 minute pause then after moving east to the end of the lagoon she was stationary for about 30 minutes, so she may have fished.
7H then carried on south to the coast; she’d done one of her climbs to about 700m to assess the terrain – or so it seems – a few minutes before arriving there, shifting to a more SE route. She stopped at two points on the cliffs with a brief trip out to sea in between. The longer stay was for most of the afternoon on a hillside by a beach, Praia da Baleeira. Her roost was on the end of the cliff to the right as you look at the photo.
Shortly before 18.00 7H flew north and roosted for the night near the Lagoa de Albufeira; maybe the fish there are extra tasty! She had flown about 100 km during the day.
On Friday she was to cover almost double that distance as she pushed on. She was flying over the lagoon at 06.39 but didn’t leave the area until about 10.00. She went west to the coast then tracked SSE, flying out over the sea near Sesimbra at 12.30 reaching land again after 30 km of flight over water at around 55 kph much of the way. She carried on SE with occasional rises to 1000m but generally at between 600 and 900m until 14.30 when she dropped to about 250m altitude for half an hour. Mostly she was flying at 40-55 kph. By 16.37 she reached the Barragem de Santa Clara, which is where she roosted overnight.
On Saturday 7H didn’t leave the reservoir until after 10.00; she flew south, mostly under 400m altitude but sometimes at around 1000m. She reached the coast by 12.44 and then flew west, mainly slightly inland. The last fix at 15.01 was about 10 km short of Sagres.
The initial striking aspect on seeing her route on 20 September was the resemblance to that of 8A, the Lake District male juvenile with a tracker, who is now in Senegal. Unfortunately data was missing to cover his journey from the Sagres area to Morocco. The shortest route would be a sea crossing. The weather last night and today was reasonable, with light winds that would have pushed 7H towards Morocco, if anything. There has been no data update today, although it could yet arrive, but it is likely that she is out of range of a cellular mast. There was a long gap in information for 8A – oddly so given that when it arrived the data suggested at times he was within range of a mast. But coverage in Morocco is variable, and we could be in for a wait too.