Since the last update UV has remained on the Senegalese coast near Mboro although he isn’t completely settled yet. He has travelled inland and along the coast to the north and south. He is a bit more settled at night; from 5-8 February he used the same small roost area for at least part of each night and from 9-11 February he chose another patch nearby.
The image for 8 February shows how he went up and down the coastline during the afternoon. And out to sea a short way.
The distance between the two ends of UV’s journey along the coast is about 27 km. On the northern trip UV was within 10 km of Rutland Water’s adult female 30(05)’s territory. On the southern leg he went in a big curve around the villages of Boro Deunde and Mboro Kandio, then after flying on he turned back to take a second look at an area shown in the image below.
What are the structures on the beach (click on the image to enlarge it)? In discussion with Paul he described one possible function. In West Africa many local communities cannot afford commercial fertiliser so burn seaweed in the open air then rinse the ash with water and dry the slurry. It forms a powdery residue of mostly alkalis – such as calcium carbonate – which can be spread on crops to neutralise acid soils. Cheaper than commercial fertiliser by far! The structures appear to have low walls, which would prevent the powder blowing away. A photo from a bit further along the coast appears to show the burning process. Even if those structures UV had a look at are not drying ‘pens’ his travels are increasing our knowledge on a variety of subjects.
As on 8 February UV spent the morning of 9 February roosting or flying over the sea briefly. But soon after 13.00 GMT he headed east. The image below shows his path, which took him back to Darou Khoudoss.
Readers might recall he visited that area on 5 Frebruary and roosted by some polluted water. So a return to make sure there really aren’t any fish there, perhaps!
The image shows UV also explored other ‘lakes’ as he started heading back to the coast. He travelled over 45 km in total. At times he was at over 250m altitude as he flew on the outward leg. His maximum recorded speed on a fix was 47 kts (87 kph). Paul’s research identified tailwinds of 13-19 kts helping him on this leg! On the return trip he flew at lower altitudes and mainly under 20 kts.
On 10 February he spent most of the day either on the beach stationary for just a few minutes at a time, flying along the coast (another fairly long flight south) or roosting a short way inland for long periods. We know that 30(05) spends quite a lot of time on the beach but UV hasn’t yet spent a significant period just sitting there. Perhaps he is being disturbed by other birds – gulls as well as ospreys.
UV’s range on 11 February looks more typical of a juvenile who has settled.
Although UV visits the mining area it is noticeable that he nearly always keeps away from even small areas of human habitation. The top image shows him NOT overflying coastal villages and on his return from Darou he changed direction to skirt round the much larger urban sprawl of Mboro. Paul has made a graphic showing what again seem to be route diversions to avoid areas of human activity.
However, just to prove ospreys have the last word – the data came in for much of yesterday and today just as this post was completed. Inevitably UV went back to the Darou area yesterday AND overflew Mboro! He was fairly high, but all the same……