Thanks to Pip for inventing the ‘pylomaniac’ descriptor of 7H. She has been travelling around – and not just to familiar places – since the last update. A stop on a pylon usually features in the day (and/or night) wherever she is! This image shows her range of over 40 km in a straight line from NE to SW. A favourite roost, pylon 8, is pegged.
This post will cover two interesting aspects to her behaviour during this time – her range on the river, and a new ‘attraction’ on her forays to the SW.
7H began April in the Jorf Lasfar area but on 2 April she returned to Azemmour by noon and visited favourite spots including her long term roost on the west bank of the river; she has hardly been near there of late. But that was an afternoon visit and it was pylons for the night.
On 3 April her activity was more like her original behaviour over a relatively small range at Azemmour, although she ventured further upstream than in 2014. And sat on several pylons.
7H stayed around Azemmour for the next few days but her activity became centred on the more upstream parts of her river range. The next image shows the period 5-7 April; she roosted on a Eucalyptus tree on 5 April, top fixes. Pylons featured too!
Then she was back up towards the estuary on 8 April – only after heading off SW again for a few hours.
Apart from 10 April when she visited both the gravel area to the east of the estuary and the loop at the bottom left of the ‘ears’ 7H has tended to focus attention on the eastern most river area. The next image shows her activity before noon today. She started at a wood she often sits in at the bottom of the loop then moved to another wood by a weir, another popular spot.
It is proving hard to discover much about the ecology of the river, but 7H is probably responding to seasonal fish migration. And/or a more dominant osprey may have left the upstream area enabling 7H to extend her range. It will be interesting to compare what she does next autumn with her initial behaviour on arriving at Azemmour when she settled quite quickly near the river mouth. And what will she do in spring 2016?
The second ‘interesting aspect’ is her repeated visits to an inland area not far from Jorf Lasfar. Until recently her numerous trips there had included only one overflight of the locality shown in the centre of Paul’s graphic below. It is now a recurring destination.
The farmland under the clusters of fixes is irrigated by a pipeline from 7H’s river, the Oum Er Rbia, but much further upstream. Another graphic from Paul.
Here are a couple more images in close up which show 7H near the end of the irrigation channel.
This winter (Nov-Feb) saw higher than average precipitation. Google Earth historic imagery shows the greenest area near the end of the channel is sometimes under water in spring, so it is a reasonable assumption that it is at least marshy now. Various species of birds would be attracted by such conditions; 7H seems to be one! It is doubtful that there are many fish there, but 7H has been sufficiently attracted to make 40 km round trips on 3 days in the last week for a few hours each time. How much longer will this fascination last?!
Many thanks to Paul for graphics, research and discussion.