Back to the beach

The last update about UV was written on 12 February before data for that day’s activity had arrived. We commented on UV’s tendency to spend most of the day inland so you can guess what he did on 12 February!

A few hours on the beach

A few hours on the beach

Since 12 February UV has spent much more time at the coast in different spots. He has also rarely been recorded flying at heights of over 200 m ASL. He has been airborne for much less than the 3-4 hours a day than he had been averaging.

Is he starting to build up reserves ready to start migration? Possibly – time will tell.

You’ll notice UV kept close to shore in the image above. He has seldom ventured far from land in the past week. Paul’s weather analysis has identified one possible reason.

credit: OSCAR/NASA JPL courtesy Paul Wildlifewriter

courtesy Paul Wildlifewriter

In contrast with much of the winter until now, the SSTA (sea surface temperature anomaly) for 15 February shows a distinct patch of cooler-than average sea around the coast of Senegal – the green in the image. There is also a north-going current.

These changes could be affecting the type and numbers of fish available near the coast, or their distribution. Cooler water near the coast could be attracting some pelagic species which normally feed in the rich cold water of the ocean. Another colourful chart from Paul.

courtesy Paul Wildlifewriter

courtesy Paul Wildlifewriter

The red at the coast denotes more plankton presence than normal because of the additional nutrients and oxygen in the cooler water. So there could be plenty of prey for UV and his fish eating companions!

It will be interesting to see whether the SSTA continues and where UV forages over the next period.

This entry was posted in Abroad, Blue UV, Migration and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Back to the beach

  1. jw4926 says:

    I cannot not admire UV’s judgement .. but then I am biased :-) Thank you so much for the blog Joanna – your explanations are welcome, as ever and Paul, your graphics do assist so much in assessing the lad’s understanding – Thank you both!

    • joannadailey says:

      Thanks, JW. Tracking data is fascinating but prompts many questions when there are changes in activity and behaviour.

      We can look for possible explanations but mostly can’t be 100% sure. Nevertheless, UV’s behaviour ‘fits’ the data re sea temperature and the plankton presence.

  2. Sandra Bainbridge says:

    The best news would be for UV to return and breed. I have had a conversation and forget but do not think any male youngster tracked has returned and bred and think I could be wrong. SSK did a female but she had a temporary tracker and a fascinating story. Come on UV you can do it. Is there a nest still available Joanna. Thank you to you and Paul for the fascinating information and the time you put in to keeping us all informed.

    • joannadailey says:

      Thanks for your comments, Sandra.

      Rutland Osprey Project female 06(01) also returned to breed but her tracker wasn’t working by that point.

      Re males 2013 Lake District Osprey Project White 14 who is a phenomenal traveller spent some time courting a female, Blue MU, last year in the Esthwaite area but nothing developed.

      There are opportunities for UV to settle in the Kielder area but 3 years old is still quite young for males to breed. Yellow 37 and White YA were both older before they bred.

      Another year of experience under UV’s belt, so to speak, would be fine by us!

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