On 23 February ornithologist (and finder of Kielder Blue 1H in November 2013, therefore a Kielder hero!) Frédéric Bacuez joined us to take a pirogue up to the breach area and across to UV’s old area in the Langue de Barbarie National Park. Frédéric has written an informative blog about the many different species of birds we saw on that day – including some migrants heading north – on Ornithondar
This post concentrates on UV’s ‘old area’, where he spent almost all of his time from late April to September 2015. It is a very small patch of under a square kilometre.
Initially the pirogue headed north of UV’s original location on the narrow spit of land separating the Senegal River from the Atlantic Oxean. A few hundred metres of the northern end was lost to the ocean sometime last summer or autumn. Sand bars and trees still provide homes for birds.
The current and rough sea prevented exploration further north. The pirogue turned and headed for UV’s old area which is used by other Ospreys now.
UV used to sit in the trees on the river side of the spit sometimes – this is the view from the north.
The interior of the spit at this point has some sandy open spaces amongst the (mainly) Filau trees. UV would perch in this area some days.
The beach was not as well populated by Ospreys as the southernmost part was the previous day. This is the view UV saw each day in the summer.
He perched in daytime on one slightly elevated place quite near the sea – this could well have been it.
Ospreys were visible foraging offshore with a few sat on other old stumps.
It felt quite special to experience the small area UV called home from late April to September, and difficult to see why he lost interest.
The pirogue trip continued south as far as L’Ile aux Oiseaux, an important breeding area within the Park. Gabions have been installed to reduce the erosion. Handy perches!
Throughout the pirogue journey Ospreys were spotted regularly. Mainly they were bringing fish caught offshore to a tree by the river, or were ‘just resting’ on the riverside. Here are a few of the thirty or so Ospreys seen.
And just a few of the other species.
Very few of the Ospreys were colour ringed. The bird census undertaken in November and December under the auspices of Project Tougoupeul recorded details of eight ringed Ospreys out of regular counts of around 180-200. Vic photographed one metal ringed Osprey where the quality of the image enabled a partial ring reading.
Unfortunately the last two digits were not visible.
The BTO contacted their Swedish opposite numbers who informed Vic that the Osprey was ringed in SW Sweden.
Many thanks to Vic for sharing his excellent photographs with the blog.