The mid-November blog about UV examined where he might be catching fish, given there was still a lot of sediment flowing into the ocean. Lake Guembeul, a recent popular area, was one possible answer and UV has spent increased periods around tributaries of the Senegal River and near its mouth.
He has also been close to his original territory on the southern spit of the Langue de Barbarie which is within the National Park.
On 27 November UV appeared to be quite near his old ‘home’ for much of the morning, possibly foraging but also flying at high altitudes at times. There were few fixes but here they are.
Rafa Benjumea and his colleague Blanca Perez (you’ll recall they saw UV on 20 November when monitoring birds for Project Tougoupeul) confirmed that UV had indeed been foraging; here is a photo, so wonderful for us back at Kielder to see.
UV’s moult is apparent in the photo. Rafa described UV interacting with a couple of the many Ospreys spending winter in the area. The monitoring work is proving the National Park is indeed a haven for birds including Ospreys. There are plenty of fish, Rafa says! We hope he and Blanca see UV again before their work is completed later this month. Our heartfelt thanks to Rafa for sharing his so special photographs.
Most days UV is still spending time at the ‘little island’ on the north spit which featured in Paul’s post on 1 December. But on 3 December he was in the Langue de Barbarie NP all day. Here is an overview, showing UV stayed to the south of his old area almost opposite the Zebrabar.
As you can see UV was busy offshore! There were two trips, the first lasting almost an hour and the second about 20 minutes. Paul has made a graphic in which UV’s flying strategy is clear.
The wind, although light, was from the ENE – a change from the prevailing direction over the last few months. UV travelled offshore gaining elevation from the tailwind then he was able to glide back reducing altitude to foraging level as he neared the beach. He can’t have caught anything in the first flight, but right at the end of his second outing he was very near the beach at 14.17 and at just 12m altitude. The temperature of the tracker at 14.17 dropped 5.5°C, possibly indicating immersion and then UV sat on the beach for nearly four hours. The wind direction probably resulted in lower height waves which would also help UV locate fish. A strong case for a catch!
On 4 December UV spent the morning on the south spit, leaving for the northern part of the Langue at just after 14.00. You can see he used the same flying strategy as he set off north after perching by the lagoon, roughly the centre of the image.
The sediment outflow has lessened significantly now the dry season has arrived. Fishing offshore will be becoming easier, but river fishing will also be productive in December as some species of spawning fish are returning to the ocean. Will UV split his efforts between sea and river fishing – and between the two parts of the Langue de Barbarie? Time will tell!
Many thanks to Paul for detailed weather information and the elevation graphic.