January has seen UV exhibit some changes in his routine – in so far as he ever has one of those! This heatmap by Paul shows his range over the month and areas he has spent significant time in. Click on the map to enlarge it.
As you can see from the key blue shows the greatest frequency of fixes ie sites he has perched. But the heatmap also makes clear the amount of time he has spent flying over the southern part of the Langue de Barbarie and especially his original area – the ‘less orange’ points.
The mid-January post about UV described him showing more interest in the National Park, that southern part of the Langue de Barbarie, and wondered if he would spend more time there. This image of the last week in January has the answer!
The ringed areas are places he had spent many hours in recent months but they are very much out of favour now.
The previous week UV had begun to visit the northern spit again for the first time since 4 January. On 22 January he perched in the mainland wetland area near the coast and on north spit.
The following day UV left his roost area late, another increasingly frequent event, and split his time between both parts of the Langue de Barbarie.
The mid-January post commented on his return to more sea foraging after the rough seas abated. The data shows UV certainly spends a lot of time offshore and scarcely any in the channel, but he is often flying far too high to be foraging. In the last week or so he has often been airborne between one and three hours a session.
This image shows UV towards the end of a two hour flight mainly offshore from the National Park. This is the first time he has been so far south since late August, when he had a couple of days away near his Fas Boue site.
UV spends much of the day on the narrow strip of land opposite Gabar. In this photograph looking across to the Langue de Barbarie you can see the relatively sparse vegetation compared with the wider expanse of land further north which is visible in the image of 23 January above.
Although it didn’t have had a significant effect on UV a feature of the weather is worth mentioning. Desert thermal convection activity initiated high level dust cloud formation which travelled on the prevailing northeasterly winds out to the Atlantic. The Harmattan is a hot, dry wind that occurs between November and mid March. It generally picks up large amounts of Saharan sand/dust, but this event was unusual for January because the convection activity lifted the material high into the atmosphere. This graphic by Paul shows the activity.
Already you can see some dust clouds offshore from Mauritania. The slideshow below covers the next couple of days, focusing mainly on UV’s area.
The Senegalese authorities issued an air quality warning in the early hours of 27 January, valid until 29 January. Although by 28 January visibility had improved for Senegal (the green colour just offshore is plankton bloom) further west large amounts of dust were still apparent on satellite imagery. Another graphic from Paul.
In late February the many adult Ospreys in the National Park will start to leave for their breeding grounds. Will UV return to the one place where he did have something approaching a routine, the area of Mangroves and beach towards the tip of the southern Langue de Barbarie?