7H near Azemmour
7H has got into a sunset/sunrise routine; the same overnight roost since 30 December which she reaches at about sunset or a bit afterwards and down to the ‘polytunnel’ farmland area by sunrise. Paul has worked out that the attraction is the trees – poplars. The historical graphic below shows better than the current Google Earth image the shadows cast by the poplars which are higher than most other trees in the area.
7H is often at just over 20m altitude (above sea level) when in that line of trees, utilising them to keep an eye on ‘her’ territory.
She has spent quite a lot of time along that strip of trees over the last few days, interspersed with very few trips to the pylons and more flying on 31 December than she has done for a while. On two occasions she spent over an hour flying up and down her usual stretch of river but also partly inland over the east side of the river. The weather was sunny with light winds so her reason for expending energy is unclear; she was usually going quite high and fast.
The image below shows her activity on 1 and 2 January minus a visit to Pylon 8 on 1 January. Just checking it is still there probably!
She hadn’t been to the mouth of the river on 31 December but you can see she spent time on the west side on the sand on 1 and 2 January. And also to the gravel extraction area to the east on both days.
Today the data arrived at just before 13.00 GMT; not a lot happened this morning!
The red circles are all her fixes today -the orange paths are from previous days also and can’t be removed. A little bit of flying on the river and a lot of sitting on poplars or the shore area, typical osprey.
UV in Western Sahara
UV is also quite predictable in some ways – he has used the same overnight roost for a week now and usually arrives on it around sunset. Some mornings he is up and away not that long after sunrise yet on others he hangs around inland until late morning or early afternoon. From 1 January he has moved slightly east from his roost early in the day – it isn’t clear why, the wind direction has been the same (easterly) for some days.
He still frequents the lagoon area most but some days he flies up the coast too, on others he has a very small range. Once he has flown the 10 km or so to the lagoons from his roost, of course! Below there is a graphic showing his activity from late morning on 31 December until mid afternoon.
On this day he did not fly up the coast at all (as far as the data indicates and it was mainly a ‘frequent fix’ day). He was roosting at the east end of the lagoons from his first arrival for probably about 1.5 hours. Then he moved to a spot to the NW, possibly because of the incoming tide. He left that roost to fly to the water at 13.07 GMT; at 13.09 he was flying at only 1 kph and at 20m altitude. The tide was just about at the high mark. Did he catch a fish in a ‘plunge dive’? The tracker temperature gauge dropped 11.5 degrees between 13.08 and 13.14 (next reading) which could indicate immersion in water. You can see he went straight to a new roost for almost an hour, so may have had his lunch in his talons as he flew there.
Between 14.08 and 14.14 he moved to a more westerly roost (this is a fairly normal ‘pattern’) via a foray over the bay.
Later, he went to his most westerly point of the day. Via another – but longer – flight over the bay.
Then he started to head back to the east with quite a few pauses. Again, fairly typical behaviour albeit he has only been back in the area for a couple of weeks. The only time in the last 4 days that he has flown up the Atlantic coast was on 2 January. The image below shows his activity from midday on 31 December to 10.38 today, when he was roosting relatively far from the water and very near his overnight roost on 12 December when he had just arrived at Cintra.
UV seems quite settled, but then he did in Portugal, even on the morning of his onward migration. Paul has pointed out that last month he left Portugal to fly across the ocean when the moon was almost full. It will be full again in a couple of days, and will rise just as the sun is setting. Watch this space!