7H has been indulging in some high flying recently. She has also made a couple of visits to the irrigated area about 25 km west of her base near Azemmour. Usually when she travels there she catches a thermal one way or the other but on 8 October at the start of her return journey from the wetlands she was between 950 and 994m ASL for a few minutes. Reason unknown! In this close up her activity in the area is clear, although as she was flying around it her elevation isn’t obvious.
The Google Earth image is from August and doesn’t suggest the area is particularly ‘wet’ but daily weather satellite images show the area as dark which implies there is standing water.
There was more high flying on 13 October during over 2 hours on the wing. 7H set off, apparently to forage, just before 13.30 but didn’t put talon to branch (or fish!) until just after 15.30. She was mainly over the river.
The marked fixes may show her escorting another osprey away from her territory. Although she was at foraging height much of the rest of the time she also had spells where she was too high. After returning to the area around the loops from her diversion east the circled area shows a spell of low level foraging activity. Mostly there isn’t any behaviour suggestive of another osprey in her area but this is one day when perhaps she had company.
Of much greater significance is her current foraging range. First, one of Paul’s heatmaps showing 7H’s activity in her first three months near Azemmour last year.
Now one Paul has just created.
7H obviously thrived well enough from catches in her much more contained area last year; she has always been quite active. But now she has an area four times greater from which to select the best spot to fish and she has added sea fishing to her repertoire. It is impossible to know whether another osprey held the upriver area last year but 7H definitely controls a sizeable territory now.
The heatmaps are a real asset, providing an instant insight into how a young osprey matures. Well done 7H – and Paul!