In the last post about VY (1 October) we had just received a batch of data showing she had returned to the Casamance River in southern Senegal after a trip to Guinea Bissau. Here is an overview of her travel.
VY left the Casamance River just after noon on 26 September and crossed into Guinea Bissau at 12.37, reaching the Rio Cacheu shortly before 13.00 UTC. Within a few km of crossing the river she started to explore the wetlands.
She was a little over an hour in this area before flying on south but soon stopped again and spent the rest of the day and night in agricultural land.
On 27 September VY stayed in that area until after 13.30 before carrying on SSE crossing the Baboque, Mansôa and Geba rivers by 16.00. She soon called it a day and again roosted near cultivated land. On 28 September VY set off on a southerly course which took her over the mouth of the Rio Grande de Buba and to what was to be the southernmost point of her exploration. Before reaching the next river VY headed west then flew approximately 20 km over the ocean to visit one of the 88 islands of the Bijagós archipelago. (Ignore the islands’ names as shown on Google Earth, many are incorrect.)
Although VY had a look at the east coast of the Ilha das Galinhas after her arrival at 16.10 and perched there for a while it appeared that she was going to head on. But when flying just offshore to the west she decided to stay for the night.
Islands in the Bijagós, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, have been used by overwintering UK ospreys in the past including Roy Dennis’s GPS tracked Logie (the 2007 adult female who featured on BBC Radio 4’s World on the Move) and an unnamed 1999 adult female from Glenferness, one of the first to be tracked by Roy. Loch Garten juvenile Rothes (2009) also overwintered on a different island in the archipelago.
On 29 September VY flew west over another 20 km of ocean to the next cluster of islands. But she decided island life wasn’t for her (at least for now!) after what seemed to be foraging on the west coast of Ponta.
At 12.42 VY set off to cover 28 km of ocean before heading up the east bank of the Rio Mansôa and then across it to meet her path on the way south.
VY stopped in her roost area by 16.00. She could have reached the Casamance well before dark but spent the rest of the afternoon by a tributary of the Cacheu.
On 30 September VY didn’t set out until after 11.00 but was flying over the Casamance at 12.45.
VY was still there when the data arrived yesterday but she had moved location slightly from her arrival point on 30 September. She still appears to be searching for that ideal spot for winter.
VY had travelled 6039 km from leaving Kielder to her return to the Casamance on 30 September.