In the ten days since the last update UV has lived up to the title of this post! He hasn’t visited anywhere new nor has he travelled south in the Langue de Barbarie National Park, an area he used regularly late last year and early 2016. But he has no set routine. He may spend two or three days flying between a couple of beaches but the next he could be inland all day – as far as the data reveals. He is quite restless at night and has been moving before midnight to a different tree a few hundred metres from his initial roost.
In the first image UV looks as though he was perched in water rather than on the beach.
Probably the 12.41-13.16 area was above the water level given the low tide time. But it is possible it is permanently above water now. The image is of the southern end of the northern section of the Langue de Barbarie. The tip of the mainland is just left of the North symbol. This slideshow with the island of Doune Baba Dieye at the centre reveals how rapidly the landscape there is changing.
UV has spent many hours on either the Langue de Barbarie or the area circled in the last image. He only settled in the Langue de Barbarie in April 2015, the date of the first image, when the area he now frequents was still submerged.
Regular readers may recall previous mention of the devastating impact of an attempt to reduce flooding in Saint-Louis. In 2003 a 4m breach was cut in the Langue de Barbarie peninsular. It is now 6 km wide as the sea erodes land to the south of it and sand accretes to the north. Several villages have been destroyed including the one on Doune Baba Dieye and the ecology of the area has been adversely affected. By the end of the year the Senegalese government will decide which of several alternative measures to implement to try to alleviate the situation.
In the April 2015 image in the slideshow the sediment flowing downriver and into the Atlantic is apparent. Recently there has been more rain in West Africa than usual at this time of year. Paul has made a graphic showing the percentage above normal of the rain.
As you can see the white, green and blue areas are all affected by higher than usual rainfall. The Langue de Barbarie is in the blue area just below the Senegal-Mauritania border. As there is mostly no rainfall in November even a small amount produces a very high ‘percentage above normal’ reading.
Latterly days have been cloudy so weather satellite imagery is often unrevealing over coastal Senegal. But on 13 November it was possible to see the sediment leaving the river and dispersing to the south carried by the prevailing current.
UV had been foraging nearer shore but he has been further out to sea at times in the last week, possibly in part because of the opaqueness of the water.
By the end of November Project Tougoupeul will have begun their month long survey of birds in the Langue de Barbarie National Park. Last year UV was photographed a couple of times but he’ll have to change his habits to get in the picture again!