UV: more partial data, but very welcome

We’ve received another partial download of data from UV’s GSM/GPS transmitter.

courtesy Paul McMichael

By the last fix at 13.41, he was under 2 km from Mauritania.

As Paul’s graphic shows, this morning UV crossed over his 2016 route. He will probably follow a similar course now.

The winds have been light and variable. UV has been conserving energy by repeated thermal soaring today.

courtesy Paul McMichael

The forecast is for similar conditions over the next couple of days. UV has about 550 km further to travel to his wintering grounds in northern Senegal. He should arrive on Friday. Safe onward journey, UV, from us all.

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Brief update: UV, Aln and Archer

There was no data yesterday from UV, who is crossing the Sahara Desert. It may be another day before he gets within range of a cell tower.

As predicted, Aln returned to the Sierras de Cazorla for a stopover.

courtesy Paul McMichael

She’s spent the last six days enjoying sun and mid 20°C temperatures. We’ve mentioned before the very low levels in the embalses (reservoirs). This graphic illustrates the point.

courtesy Paul McMichael

One of the reservoirs Aln has visited, Negratin, is featured in this article – it now has a natural outdoor spa for the public to enjoy!

Archer is still in the wetlands south of the Senegal River. She has had a couple of  small expeditions in the last couple of weeks, including a flight over the Grand Lac in the Parc National des Oiseaux du Djoudj.

at times Archer was over 500m above the terrain

The main hide overlooking the lake is very near Archer’s departure point in the SE corner. The water levels at this time of year will still be high, in contrast to a visit halfway through the dry season at the beginning of March 2017.

the measuring pole is a handy perch for Pied Kingfishers
(c) V J Paine

Archer flew along the shoreline on the right of the photo
(c) V J Paine

In the photograph below, the islands in the water may not be visible at the moment.

a view towards the west
(c) V J Paine

Archer wouldn’t have been alone as she flew around the lake, that is a certainty!

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UV: travelling on

We received just an hour’s worth of new data for UV’s migration yesterday. Paul’s graphic shows his likely route from late afternoon on 8 October to late afternoon yesterday.

courtesy Paul McMichael

The missing data will backfill at some point. Should UV maintain his current course, the limited mobile network coverage in the area ahead of him means we may not receive any data today.


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UV: approaching the Sahara Desert

This post covers UV’s activity on 6 October and yesterday until 15.15 UTC. Data for the remainder of yesterday and today is likely to arrive this evening – provided UV is within range of a cell tower.

On 6 October, UV flew 233 km, a modest day after his sea crossing on 5 October.

staying near the coast

As is often the case with migrating ospreys, UV had a few pre-dawn moves, then was flying just offshore at 08.29 UTC. He didn’t leave that area until 09.48. He overflew Safi at 10.27 and began to move away from, but parallel to, the coast on his southerly course. By noon, he was 20 km inland. Just ahead of him was a solar power station, one of many in Morocco.

a shape to remember

UV continued on a more SW course, keeping the ocean about 20 km to his west. Soon after 14.00 he arrived at the Barrage Zerrar.

Barrage Zerrar

The dam was built to protect coastal Essaouira from floods, and also to provide potable water and irrigation. UV carried on flying.

He had been crossing some hills – as visible around the barrage – and also flatter ground. Shortly before 15.00, mountains up to c800m were ahead.

straight over

The next major feature was another reservoir, Barrage (Prince) Moulay Abdellah.

worth a close look

By 17.00, the number of fixes are reducing. There are 9 minutes between the top fix, where UV had just arrived, and the next one, on the south side of the reservoir. UV was flying low and slow. The following fix is  17.19.

It is possible that UV foraged or bathed. Or he could have been checking the reservoir for possible future needs. Interestingly,  Blue DF, a 7 year old Scottish male fitted with a GSM/GPS transmitter by the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation this year, paused briefly here on his migration.

UV roosted on a hillside about 13 km south of the reservoir and 32 km north of Agadir.

In the early hours of 7 October, UV moved several times, flying a total of 44.7 km in darkness. Still before dawn, he was over the ocean at 06.49, then perched just inland. He set off on migration at about 09.30.

diverging from the coastline

His route from south of Agadir is very close to Blue DF‘s a couple of weeks earlier.

As on 6 October, UV flew straight across mountainous terrain. As had Blue DF.

UV was about 400m above the c740m terrain

Shortly before the last fixes in the download, UV had his ‘highest of the day’ moment – approximately 2400m above the terrain.

thermal soaring
courtesy Paul McMichael


Let’s hope UV is within range of a cell tower for a download later today.



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UV: flying back towards Senegal

UV was about 80 km from the Western Sahara when his data arrived this evening. This is a new route for him, so added interest. He stayed west of the Atlas Mountains yesterday and today.

courtesy Paul McMichael

UV travelled 233 km yesterday. The winds were light and not helping him – nor today. Tomorrow, if he heads in a more westerly direction, he will find tailwinds.

As Paul’s graphic shows, UV is parallel to his Autumn 2016 route. He crossed his Spring 2017 migration track this afternoon.

Spring 2017 route in green

As UV was flying after dark on 17 April, he may not have recognised the area at that point.

He still has about 1400 km to go before reaching the Langue de Barbarie area, a special place for ospreys and other migrators.

More tomorrow on UV’s route during the last couple of days.

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UV is in Africa

There wasn’t any data from UV’s GSM/GPS transmitter yesterday, an indication he might have left Portugal for Africa. The proof arrived today.

courtesy Paul McMichael

UV’s sea route is interesting. Compare it to 2016 – which was quite similar to his 2014 Autumn migration course.

courtesy Paul McMichael

The reason for the difference is the wind direction.

courtesy Paul McMichael

That was a forecast in the last post about UV, but is fairly accurate. UV left the coast at 11.19 UTC. The wind strength was about 25 km/hr and was taking him westward. But, because he knows where the coast of Africa is – unlike juveniles – he also knew that if he flew fast he would meet it. UV flew 127 km down-range between 12.00 and 14.00 UTC, very good going.

You can see a shift to a more southerly course in his route. This was at about 15.00. Compare the wind chart and his position when he changed course.  He found favourable winds for going south, so took advantage.

More statistics! UV flew 587 km yesterday in total. His sea crossing took from 11.19 to about 21.30. Here is his departure point from Portugal.

UV flew out to sea just past the end of the rocks on the right
courtesy Street View


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UV: about turn!

Yesterday, UV travelled down to the southern Portuguese coast, apparently intending to cross to Africa. Then turned around.

track to 15.00 UTC

UV was flying around the Barragem de Corona, and the river, from about 08.00 to 09.40 UTC. Fixes are fewer at that time, but he didn’t seem to catch a fish. He left the area and headed to a nearby reservoir, the Barragem da Daroeira.

a possible catch consumed on a tree nearby

UV was perched from 10.49 to 11.25. It looked like a fairly normal day at this point, but when he left Daroeia he became much more purposeful. By the time he reached the Barragem de Monte Rocha, UV was using thermals to gain height, a strategy he repeated as he flew south.

up to 1200m above the terrain

courtesy Paul McMichael

At 14.16, UV was 900m above the terrain and nearing the coast. He dropped to around 150m over Armação de Pêra as he curved around.

turning away at 14.37

The winds offshore were favourable for a crossing until a couple of days ago. As UV set out from the Alentejo yesterday, he couldn’t know that over the Atlantic Ocean easterly winds funnelling through the Strait of Gibraltar would have made a 24 hour long crossing very hard work.

Tomorrow, the forecast indicates the winds will be light and from a better direction for southward migration.

courtesy Paul McMichael

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