UV’s last few days in mainland Europe

This post will cover points of interest during UV’s resumed migration from NE Spain to the Normandy coast.

On 19 April, he had an idle morning before setting off to cross the Pyrénées. He was flying parallel to the Rio Ebro by 12.30 UTC.

nearing the end of arid landscapes

UV carried on over gradually rising land and into the Pyrénées. He reached the frontier with France at about 16.30.

the last of the mountain ranges to cross

Once over the mountains, UV was crossing mainly agricultural terrain. By 18.oo he was near Saubusse on the Adour, a river other ospreys have stopped at on migrations.

a lush landscape

before finding his roost, UV perched along this stretch of the river

UV roosted in a tree for the first time in a few days – telegraph poles had been the highest points.

courtesy Paul McMichael and Street View

UV left the roost before 05.39 the next day. He perched a few km to the north before setting off in earnest.

fields, rivers and the ocean

a patchwork of fields below

As described in the overview post, UV returned to the coastal area.

18 km long, 5 km wide at widest point

The lake is the largest freshwater lake in France. UV hugged the eastern shoreline.

UV flew offshore for a tad under an hour, with an average speed of about 50 k/ph. Half an hour later, he had a break.

one of several pylon halts
courtesy Street View

UV didn’t travel much further. His eventual roost site was just south of the Charente.

a field edge roost

UV had another early start yesterday, flying fast along the coast, but he soon stopped by an irrigation channel. Then he perched in marshland, not unlike the Solway Firth.

reminiscent of the Solway Firth
courtesy Street View

Despite not continuing migration until nearly 09.00, he flew 426 km by 19.27.

a good distance covered

He crossed the Loire near Angers.

about 500m above the Loire as UV flew over just before 13.00

By 15.45 UV was 42 km east of Rennes, having just been c1000m above the terrain. He ended his day flying fast up the Cotentin peninsula.

arriving near the coast at 19.27

a roost without a stunning view
courtesy Street View

Today, he was offshore at 212m ASL at 04.46, just east of Urville-Nacqueville.

courtesy Street View

The next post will have maps and photographs from the UK!


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UV reaches the UK: overview

UV made good progress yesterday, travelling 426 km through France to reach the coast.

courtesy Paul McMichael

He made an early start this morning to cross the English Channel, making landfall near Swanage.

courtesy Paul McMichael

It took UV 18 days to reach the UK in 2017. This year, he arrived on Day 21. But he is back in his home country over a week earlier.

There’ll be a ‘detail’ post about his journey through France later today.

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Eyes to the skies!

Breaking news, UV crossed to England today. There is a lot of missing data, but he made landfall near Swanage at about 07.30 GMT.

over England’s green fields

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Sun and scrapes

Kielder Water & Forest Park has been bathed in warm sunshine for the last 3 days. With 3 breeding pairs of ospreys back safely from migration, would we see eggs this weekend?

A lot of preparations have been made.

Nest 1A’s cup being deepened by YA
(c) Forestry Commission England

Nest 4’s Mrs 69 sends moss flying
(c) Forestry Commission England

Nest 2’s 37 plays his part
(c) Forestry Commission England

When eggs are laid on Nest 1A, we might have difficulty seeing them.

will eggs be hidden by moss and depth?
(c) Forestry Commission England

The Nest 2 pair were reunited first this year, on 5 April. Last year, egg 1 was laid 14 days after that event. EB is spending a lot of time on the nest, but not necessarily in the cup. Perhaps there’ll be ‘egg news’ from Nest 2 tomorrow.

The Nest 4 birds were next to be reunited, on 7 April. Egg 1 was laid 12 days after they were both back in 2017, so laying could be imminent. Successful copulations have been recorded, although 69 sometimes lands too high up Mrs 69’s back.

69 shuffled backwards eventually!
(c) Forestry Commission England

Last year, the first Nest 1A egg also arrived 12 days after the pair were back together. That translates to today, but YA was spending more time in the cup than his mate. They often stand near each other on the edge of the nest. In this clip, it seems as though they decided on some uncoordinated exercise! Press HD for best quality.

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UV update

UV flew 275 km yesterday, making reasonable progress through France.

courtesy Paul McMichael

The data ends at 10.22 UTC. UV could be in Normandy tonight if he replicates yesterday’s distance.

Paul’s graphic shows UV heading back to the coast yesterday, and away from the 2017 track. Why? The wind was more favourable there.

UV’s route from about 11.30 UTC
courtesy Paul McMichael

At 10.22, UV was about 85 km SE of Nantes. And c440 km from the Isle of Wight. Ever closer!


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UV: still heading north

New data has revealed UV crossed to France yesterday afternoon at about 16.25 UTC. Paul’s overview graphic shows UV is nearing last year’s route.

courtesy Paul McMichael

UV covered 332 km in about 7 hours of flying, including crossing the Pyrénées. This animation by Paul shows the terrain below him as he entered French airspace. Enjoy!

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UV heading north, fast!

A few posts ago, the title was ‘UV heading north, slowly’. Today, at about noon, he resumed his migration. He’d flown 243 km in the four hours before data arrived.

courtesy Paul McMichael

UV was about 20 km from the French border, which he probably crossed before stopping for the night.

You can see his course is very different to last year’s route. The winds were light from the east, but it is more likely that he headed west because there were local thunderstorms and heavy cloud over the Pyrénées in the green track zone.

Weather conditions are very good for onward migration through France and to the UK for the next few days.

data (c) GFS
courtesy Paul McMichael

Today is Day 18 of UV’s Spring migration. On that day last year, he arrived in the UK. But this year, he left 11 days earlier. With good weather and greater experience to guide him, UV should be flying over his homeland very soon.

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More on Nest 3, and fish delivery goes wrong on Nest 1A

Nest 3 isn’t streamed – it is too remote. So there is always an air of anticipation when visiting to download footage. Today will stay in the memory. Neither resident had been seen by 15 April. Tough to think that neither survived, but both are usually back well before that time. Within minutes of starting live recording whilst downloading footage, the usual female landed.

a familiar female
(c) Forestry Commission England

Fresh from a bath, she surveyed her nest. It wasn’t long before the new male arrived, but the female left soon after. The new male scraped in the nest cup area a few times. The female is just visible in the tree behind the nest above his body.

the last of several scrapes
(c) Forestry Commission England

The recordings showed he probably did better earlier in the day.

possible success
(c) Forestry Commission England

There were signs of bonding yesterday, although the new male brought a small piece of fish and didn’t offer any to his potential mate.

learning point?
(c) Forestry Commission England

He may well have delivered fish to her before, she was relaxed as he ate.

The usual Nest 3 male may arrive yet. But this potential new pairing seem to be bonding well.

As promised earlier, there was a bit of drama on Nest 1A today. YA arrived with a large trout, however his talons were gripping it very well. Press HD for best quality.

YA kept the fish after the tumble. Mrs YA ate later on.

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Loafing at Loriguilla and elsewhere

The last ‘detail’ post about UV ended on the afternoon of 14 April. He was flying on after nearly 2 hours at the Embalse de Contreras.

going east

After about an hour of travel, UV reached the Embalse de Benagéber. But he flew over that reservoir, no pause at all.

clearly not attractive to UV!

By 15.30 UTC, UV was just north of the Embalse de Loriguilla. He stopped there and stayed the night.

no interest in the large body of water, just the narrower part

Loriguilla and Benagéber are linked as part of the irrigation system in the region. Aqueducts and pipes can be seen on Street View.

courtesy Street View

On the previous image, UV flew very near the pipeline (his top fix on the map). Here is an description of an interesting project at Loriguilla.

Given there are some scenic places that UV could have roosted, his choice was a little disappointing for his followers!

modest accommodation for the night
courtesy Street View

UV spent the next morning at Loriguilla. He left soon after midday and flew parallel to the coast towards the area he has used previously as a staging post. It has a number of reservoirs and the rivers include the Rio Ebro, the second longest in Iberia.

Rio Ebro meanders just below the top of the image

Since arriving, UV has meandered around within the area shown on the map.

The sun shone yesterday – good for charging the battery on his transmitter after several cloudy days. More fine weather is forecast. Will UV continue loafing, or take the opportunity to cross the Pyrénées?

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Look who is back!

Last year, the Nest 3 female was first seen at Kielder on 31 March. This year, neither she nor the male had been seen by the afternoon of 15 April. A new male has been nestorising on their nest.

A visit to download footage today found the rightful female on the nest.

arriving from a bathe
(c) Forestry Commission England

Although unringed, she has several distinctive features which allow firm identification.

The new male is courting her.

will Nest 3 have a new male this year?
(c) Forestry Commission England

There’ll be a further post about this potential new pairing later. And some dramatic footage from Nest 1A.

There are no eggs yet at Kielder – later this week in the sunshine would be a good plan!

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