Just as the last update was about to be published data arrived showing that on 12 February UV returned to the mining area at Darou Khoudoss for the third time. Since then he has had another shorter visit.
Paul has produced a graphic with all four tracks. It is based on a 2011 historical image where the water appears silver (reflected clouds); at the scale necessary to show UV’s trips the green of the water is difficult to see, even if you click to enlarge.
It is striking that on most visits UV follows a very similar ‘U’ route (probably because of the pattern of breezes both at the coast and inland) and focusses on the same stretches of water – there are other ‘ponds’ on the imagery but he seems uninterested in them. Given it appeared impossible for there to be fish in them we looked for reasons and Paul found that tilapia fish farming (financed by European partners!) has been introduced to the area – here is an article in French about it. Could UV have found a farm? Unfortunately the latest available satellite image is from 2013 and a farm could have been established after that. Nevertheless, the ‘lakes’ UV visits don’t have the expected shape of aquaculture ponds – the plan talked of lining them so there should be a more even appearance. So perhaps UV has simply been making sure there are definitely no fish in what may seem like a wetland area, rather than that he has found some at a fish farm. Which could bring trouble for him. Here is an image of UV on 12 February circling by some of the ‘lakes’.
His last visit on 17 February was for only an hour and on the return leg he expended a lot of energy climbing over several minutes to an altitude of over 1300m. At that height he would have been able to see approximately 120 km. Is he trying to find more lakes, perhaps? Until Cintra nearly all UV’s experience of fishing was in a reservoir. At Cintra he preferred the lagoon to genuine sea fishing outside the sheltered bay. There are no lakes near his current site although Lac de Guiers to the north near St Louis may just have been visible.
Whatever his reasons for the visits, outside of those explorations he has kept to his small area between fishing villages with an occasional foray a few km to the south. This image of his range is typical of most recent days, with a bit of activity on or by the beach but most roosting on trees further inland.
The last post discussed UV’s avoidance of populated areas; on his visit to Darou on 12 February he undermined that ‘theory’.
But he didn’t repeat the inspection on 17 February. He flew in a curve well wide of Mboro overlapping his outward journey – so not quite the ‘U’ shape of the earlier paths. Mostly he flies along the northern edge of the green area (vegetables are grown there) to the NE of Mboro.
Now that UV has established several spots where he spends much of his time it will be interesting to see if they change when any adult ospreys in the area – for example Rutland Water’s 30(05) – leave for their breeding grounds in the next few weeks.