On 23 September 2014 7H reached the second largest river in Morocco… and that was the end of her migration! Initially it seemed she had paused at a staging post but as the days went by it became clear she had found her wintering grounds, becoming the first UK Osprey recorded overwintering in Morocco.
This was her range over her first three days near Azemmour.
This image shows her range six months later, concentrating on the weir area but with trips upriver.
Now she is mainly frequenting her ‘old’ areas and also the beach. Which is where she was at 08.54 UTC on her anniversary.
Many readers will recall that we stopped receiving data in late January and it was not until after Pip and Vic found 7H alive and well that the problem was resolved. So much more has been learnt since then.
If we regard the Langue de Barbarie as UV’s wintering destination we won’t be celebrating his anniversary until 26 April next year when he should be thinking of heading for the UK. Or will he undertake a partial migration to one of his staging posts? He had an unusual migration with two staging posts and an unsettled time for his first three months when he eventually reached Senegal.
His first stopover in SW Portugal lasted almost three months; he visited several reservoirs as well as the sea and rivers occasionally.
Next he tried out the lagoon in the Gulf of Cintra for about six weeks.
And finally it was Senegal in late January. He seemed unsettled there until
late April when the Langue de Barbarie became his base. Probably dominant adults prevented him staying earlier during several trips to it. Now he has many lazy days again, but he has fun too! On 20 September his altitude was exceptionally high for a spell. Thanks to Paul for the graphic.
Over time we have seen both of them mature and behave more like adults, with reduced exploring and more perching.
Mortality in the first two years is as high as 80% so 7H and UV’s instincts have served them very well to date. Their migration journeys and behaviour since have given us many insights into the lives of young Ospreys, including highlighting the importance of weather not just for migration but also for their activities in their wintering grounds. 7H’s altered foraging areas must reflect changing food supply caused by migratory fish. A few weeks ago UV’s foraging was affected by the seasonal rains causing sediment to flow far out to sea and reducing visibility to a significant degree around his territory.
Over the next few weeks adults will be returning in numbers, especially to the Langue de Barbarie, and first year juveniles will be trying to establish themselves – just as VY is doing at the moment. Will we see changes in behaviour? In Spring will UV and 7H head north, and if so will UV journey only as far as Portugal? How will they try and establish themselves in the UK? Lots of questions!
It has been a privilege over the last year to have had the opportunity to contribute to increased understanding of young Ospreys’ lives. The commitment in different ways of Paul, Pip and Vic has been a highlight too. And now the very different migration of VY so much further south is adding a new dimension.
It will be fascinating to follow the next year in 7H, UV and VY’s lives – stay safe, young ones.