UV – a high flyer

The wonderful news about 7H has occupied the mind (and heart) this week. There will be another post with some great photos of her courtesy of Pip and Vic later in the weekend. But before his cousin gets all the attention UV deserves his update to be published!

At the end of February a spectacular dust storm moved across West Africa.

Dust covers the coast of Senegal

Dust covers the coast of Senegal

It was caused by winds and thermal activity deep in the Saharan desert. The graphic is more startling than the impact – the storm was of fine dust, not as damaging as larger grained sand from local sand storms can be. It had subsided by 28 February, but did it have an impact on UV who was under the dense part?

Apparently not, because he made his journey south from the Langue de Barbarie to his ‘home’ on the coast near Mboro on 26 February, rather than sit it out. And then was ‘out and about’ locally.

One theme of the period from 28 February to 3 March has been some high altitude flying by UV. He has regularly flown at over 600m altitude – mainly on his way to the coast from roosting a couple of km inland, or flying along the coast.  The image below shows activity over the water on 1 March when he was at altitudes between 780m and 900m for part of the time (the points to the left are the highest).

UV on 1 March

UV on 1 March

When over water at such heights he would not be able to see fish so whatever he was doing it wasn’t hunting. Is he still looking for somewhere different to move to, is he watching other ospreys in the vicinity? We’ll never know unless the indefatigable Pip and Vic fancy a long weekend near Mboro!

UV has explored much less this past week. During the day he is mainly within a 500m² area inland (visible in the image above), although he will often fly over a 5 km stretch of coast. On 1 March it was slightly more. Fas Boue is often a turning point, but not on Sunday.

Over the last two days he has been more limited in both altitude reached and range. His activity on 5 March is below.

UV range on 5 March

UV range on 5 March

Two or three visits to the sea are usually evident from the data. Longer intervals between fixes early in the day may mean at least one more is missed. He occasionally roosts on the beach or just inland but seldom for long. These are areas Rutland Osprey Project’s 30 just up the coast uses most, but not UV. Is the reason his juvenile status? Even at Cintra he would roost sometimes about a km inland and there was almost certainly a hugely lower osprey population there, if any, although it is under researched. There are more questions than answers on interaction between juveniles and adults in wintering grounds.

It will be fascinating to record any changes in his behaviour over the next couple of weeks when most breeding adults will be departing for Europe.

With thanks to Paul for the dust storm graphic and interpretation of it, and interesting discussions on behaviour.



This entry was posted in Blue UV, Migration, Osprey updates and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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