Archer: life in northern Senegal

Archer has been increasingly settled in her territory south of the Senegal River. After arrival on 17 September, she ranged over a 35 sq km area. Latterly, she has concentrated on a couple of tributaries of the Senegal River and associated watercourses.

This map shows some (but by no means all) of the watercourses connected to the Gorom-Lampsar tributaries, where Archer/9L has been exploring her new winter home.

courtesy Paul McMichael

More from Paul: “The drainage pattern of the lower Senegal River is that of a seasonal flood plain and delta. It includes many channels, lakes, and marshy areas (“marigots”) and is an important resource both for people and wildlife. The natural drainage of the area is supplemented by a network of irrigation channels and sluices, and which today enable the cultivation of primary crops. The most important of these are sugar cane and rice, both of which require manipulation of water levels. Water management in the delta area dates back to medieval times and, in the 19thC during colonial occupation, French military surveyors reported that the whole system was so complex that they were not sure how it all worked. In modern times, additional irrigation is provided by pumped water handling, powered by electricity.

During the rainy season, migratory fish disperse into the floodplain for breeding. This abundant food supply is attractive to young ospreys as the narrow and shallow irrigation canals make fish easier to catch.”

The effectiveness of the drainage system can be seen by photographs from late February 2017 ie halfway through the dry season.

rice paddies in Archer’s territory
(c) V J Paine

looking north across the Lampsar River
(c) Joanna Dailey

Aln stayed in her roost area on Wednesday, and was still there in the pre-dawn data download yesterday.

There’ll be a post later about UV – still on stopover in SW Portugal this morning.


This entry was posted in 9L/Archer, Abroad, Migration, Osprey updates and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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