VY: a real high flyer

The data download for VY arrived late afternoon and shows she is making good progress through Spain. Yesterday morning she hadn’t gone far from her overnight roost on the river Jalón and was sitting in some arid looking terrain, but by 08.49 UTC she had set off and was flying in a SW direction parallel to the river but further east. Here is her track for the day.

Sept 5: VY travel

Sept 5: VY travel

Soon after 11.00 VY was flying NE of Guadalajara and had risen to over 1260m above the terrain below her. Between 11.20 and 11.40 she was just east of some reservoirs but although she dropped to only about 100m above the terrain for a time she didn’t deviate to overfly them.

VY passes some reservoirs

VY passes some reservoirs

She gained altitude again and by the time she went past Toledo to the west of her she was consistently over 1300m above the terrain or higher. VY crossed into Castile La Mancha just before 15.00 and started on a westerly curve which you can see in the travel overview map above. She ended the day flying NW for the last few fixes before her roost.

VY curves west

VY curves west

The reason for the westerly deviation was almost certainly the weather. Paul’s analysis follows:-

Yesterday afternoon, there was a weak front moving ENE across southern Spain, with some thundery rain showers behind it. VY seems to have seen this ahead and may have decided to run SW down the leading edge of the front since she was going in that general direction anyway. As the rain arrived she deviated to find a secure roost for the evening.

VY’s travel ended at 17.52 and she had covered 355 km at an average height above terrain of 794m, pretty impressive! Here is a close up of her roost.

Sept 5: VY's roost

Sept 5: VY’s roost

Paul confirmed that the rain had cleared completely by this morning, so VY was able to press on as normal. But only after her usual spell away from her overnight roost for an hour or so – the fixes top right in the image above.

Today VY set off at 08.42 and rapidly gained height to over 1000m above the terrain. She didn’t travel far before a stop though.

Did VY try and fish?

Did VY try and fish?

At 09.39 she arrived at this small lake and overflew it very low. From 09.47 she perched at the southern end for about 25 minutes before flying on one fix before landing again. That was repeated a little later in her stay, which lasted until 10.25. She may have simply had a bath or taken some water, but attempting to fish can’t be ruled out by her behaviour.

By 13.15 VY was crossing the Sierra Morena mountain range in Andalucia and she was still very near the route taken by Beatrice, the Highlands adult female osprey tracked by Roy Dennis. At times VY was over 2000m above the terrain, but she was much lower once over the less elevated ground east of Seville. By the the last fix she had begun to swing in a more westerly direction, taking her away from Beatrice’s wintering grounds and towards the Straits of Gibraltar. So far she has travelled 2231 km since leaving Kielder.

6 Sept: VY travel to 15.17

6 Sept: VY travel to 15.17

Courtesy of Paul the weather forecast is:-

Tomorrow’s weather for S Andalucia is for more thundery showers during the morning and afternoon. Winds are light, variable so the thunderstorms will be slow-moving inland – probably better near coasts.

Finally, there’ll be a post tomorrow with ‘best estimates’ of when the ospreys left the three Kielder nests. YA was probably still around yesterday and there is a bit more footage to analyse yet!


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

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