Friday, 21 October 2011


Incredible news in today, that Ozwold has really covered some ground. Autumn has really settled in the UK, with night temperatures in the south of England hitting 2 or 3 degrees and reports of snow in Scotland.
So the big news the past couple of days he has passed through France and has reached Spain. Not only that, but he has navigated via two areas often frequented by do they do it? It remains an incredible mystery. Was Ozwold's late and maybe confused migration upset by the usually warm autumn? Or maybe, his late migration was just within the normal range. Who knows! but surely researching osprey migration will build up a picture about the migrational habits of these amazing birds.

So...back to Ozwold's journey...

19 October 2011

At 8am he was flying SE at 32km/hr just west of Ipswich, and left the Essex coast just north of Clacton. At 9am he was flying SE at 32km/hr over the North Sea and an hour later was 20kms east of Ramsgate, where he changed direction to south. He reached the French coast at Sangatte and then steadily flew south passing west of Amiens at 1300GMT. He flew over Versailles to the west of Paris at 1500GMT, when he was flying SSE at 31km/hr at an altitude of 370 metres. He roosted the night in Orleans Forest after a flight of 528 kms. 
Roy emailed his friend Rolf Wahl who studies the ospreys in Orleans Forest - he  told Roy that Ozwold roosted at or very close to one of two osprey nests in that part of the forest.

I wonder if Ozwold included the Eiffel Tower in his mental-map of France! It's really incredible to think that he found a good osprey area to roost. It makes me think about the theory of Genetic Memory...that possible 
behaviour patterns, previous experiences etc are somehow built into our DNA. 

19th October - 528 kms

20 October 2011

The full GPS data is not in yet but non-GPS data showed that he roosted this night in the hills just north of Ermua, near Bilbao in Spain. It's just 16 kms SE of Urdabai Estuary. Today's migration was at least 643 kms. This is a very strong migration flight. This was near the area that Roy Dennis was filmed in Autumn Watch.
Autumn Watch is on every Friday at tune in and you can follow the Welsh ospreys' journeys, plus find out about lots of other UK wildlife too.

October 20th - line just links the two points

21 October 2011

Off in a hurry...he seems to be taking his migration very seriously...

Ozwald was already 61 kms SW by 0924GMT - flying towards Valdegovia in Alava province in the Basque country. The weather in Spain is clear and sunny with no real wind - east 2mph where he is or N 1mph further down the track. The temperature is 8C.

I just hope he makes a safe passage through Spain and is not tempted to go too far west into the Atlantic.

If you haven't already, look at Roy Dennis' website for information of other ospreys including Ozwold You'll also find information on conservation of other species such as golden eagles and sea eagles.

Roy Dennis, UK osprey expert and founder of the Highland Foundation for Wildlife has written about Ozwold in his blog..

These are Roy's thoughts about Ozwold's migration...from Roy Dennis' blog...

Ozwald's migratory instinct kicks back in!

21 October 2011
Ozwald must be the latest migrating osprey leaving Scotland this year by a long way. At last his migratory instinct has kicked back in and he has deserted the snowy mountains of Scotland and today is flying over Spain through cloudless skies. His behaviour in the last two months has been very unusual and it just shows there is always something new to learn about ospreys.
He set off on migration from Nairnshire on the rather early date of 16th August. Maybe his father had been finding it difficult to catch enough fish for his brood of 3 young, especially in this summer which has been very poor for breeding ospreys in Scotland. The start of his migration was good and in two days he had just about reached England, when suddenly he took a swerve and did a big loop back to the Scottish Highlands. Very strange behaviour which I could not understand.
He then spent his time drifting around the big rivers of eastern Scotland in Angus and Aberdeenshire, and as far north as the River Spey. It looked as though he was never going to migrate and that was even more so, from 26th September, when he settled down on a small river running in to the River Don at Bellabeg in Strathdon. In fact, close to a place called Lost!
His transmitter started to be very intermittent because of the shortening days of autumn and the number of cloudy rainy days. With such a lack of sunshine the battery in the transmitter was failing to charge and as a result failing to give good signals. I was starting to get very worried because the shortening days and colder temperatures were making it even more difficult to catch fish. I was nearly becoming resigned to the fact that he might not survive. One day in particular I was on the point of going to Strathdon to see if I could see what he was doing, but that day he moved further down river.
In the last week, we have had a lot of snow in the mountains and this must have been the trigger for Ozwald to decide to migrate - living any longer in the Scottish Highlands was no longer an option. On his departure on 11th October he would have seen the snows in the high Cairngorms and it was marvellous to find him a few days later in Norfolk.
In the last couple days, he has really started to migrate with 528 kms on the 19th and a staggering 643 kms yesterday. This morning he'd already set off early and was flying south-west through the mountains of the Basque country in northern Spain. The weather is perfect - cloudless skies and no real wind, just east 2 mph where he started and north 1 mph further down his track. If he keeps this heading he will reach Portugal but I hope he turns south and when we hear from him in 3 days time, hopefully he will be in Africa. Bon voyage!
Ozwald's transmitter is sponsored by the publishers, home and abroad, of 'Skyhawk' and the author Gill Lewis, so I immediately emailed the exciting news to Gill when I got it this morning. Gill was just going to give a talk to 100 school children in Wigan, and I bet they, as well as all the other children following Ozwald's migration, will be excited that he is heading for Africa at last.
I also emailed my friend Rolf Wahl, who studies the ospreys in the Orleans Forest, south of Paris, along with the GPS map of where he roosted on the night of the 19th/20th of October. He tells me that he was either at or very close to one of 2 osprey nests in the northern part of the forest - of course those ospreys had gone south long ago.

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