April had been very quiet for UV until 22 April. He had focused almost exclusively on the northern part of the Langue de Barbarie and favourite areas nearby – such as the tip of the mainland – with an occasional outing to the canal near the N2.
19 April was quite an active day compared to some!
Recently he has hunted north along the seaward side of the spit, as in the above image, rather than in the river mouth.
On 22 April the day seemed fairly normal until after 11.00. He flew a little NE of his usual haunts and explored a new watery area, perching for a few minutes.
Next he visited the Trois Marigots and perched in fields irrigated by the river Lampsar. And then he was off!
He continued his journey yesterday as this graphic by Paul shows.
Paul’s addition of the wind directions explains the reason for what might appear an odd course for an osprey who should be heading for the UK. Here’s Paul:-
“Along the coast of west Africa, the prevailing wind is from the north – and this rarely changes until the arrival of the SW monsoon in summer. Young ospreys on the first return migration would find it hard work to battle into this breeze for hundreds of kilometers, so they often seek out the inland route over the desert, where conditions can be more favourable. At this time of year, cyclonic low-pressure areas over the Sahara can form and shift, giving locally variable winds that birds can take advantage of – IF they can find them.”
Other tracked ospreys that have flown inland then taken the desert route north include Rutland Water’s 30(05) who was a little north of UV’s path a few weeks ago and Rothiemurchus, one of Roy Dennis’s tracked male ospreys, who had a similar route in Spring 2014.
On 22 April UV flew nonstop between 12.18 and 17.51. He covered 234 km from roost to roost. He was over 1000m ASL much of the time and reached a high for the day of 3023m ASL. The terrain below was 56m ASL.
Yesterday he wasn’t quite as high flying so often, with a recorded maximum of 1428m ASL. Apart from a very brief stop he was airborne from 08.42 to about 18.00. He flew 486 km from roost to roost.
Last night he was relatively near Kiffa in Mauritania having crossed the border at 12.56. It is a fairly large town hence cell towers. We’ll be lucky to receive data in the next few days given the desert crossing that lies ahead. The wind direction early today at Kiffa was from the south. Fly safely and well, UV.