Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Ozwold in Mauritania. Osborne in denial.

27 November 2011

Ozwold has settled down in the islands of the Banc d'Arguin in Mauritania. In November he ranged over a large area of 440 square kms, but between 21st and 26th November he has settled on the southern side of the islands and is roosting in the desert between 4.5 and 6.5 kms from the sea coast. 

A few notes about the Banc D'Arguin National Park;

The Banc d'Arguin is a UNESCO world heritage site and is one of the most important zones in the world for nesting birds and Palearctic migratory waders.

Set on the west coast of Mauritania, this park is made up of sand dunes, small islands, coastal swamps, mud flats and shallow coastal waters. This diverse and unique ecosystem provides habitats for more than 2 million migrant birds, 40,000 nesting population, many fish and invertebrate species. The reserve also supports several species of marine turtle including the endangered green sea turtle and also marine mammals such as the bottlenose dolphin and Atlantic Humpback dolphin. 

The reserve is under threat from the effects of commercial fishing. In 2006 Mauritania sold EU fishing rights to reduce their national debt. International fishing fleets fishing these rich waters just outside the reserve boundaries have been reducing the fish population at a dramatic rate. 

A few notes about George Osborne's Autumn Statement...

The fragility of the Banc D'Arguin highlights that ecosystems are dependent upon not only national policies of a country but international cooperation and understanding in order to safeguard the future of our wildlife and our own longterm future too. 

Unfortunately, only today, Chancellor George Osborne in his autumn statement has declared green policies as a 'burden' and a 'ridiculous cost' to British businesses. 

"I am worried about the combined impact of the green policies adopted not just in Britain, but also by the European Union … if we burden [British businesses] with endless social and environmental goals – however worthy in their own right – then not only will we not achieve those goals, but the businesses will fail, jobs will be lost, and our country will be poorer." 

George Osborne mentions slackening wildlife protection laws in favour of 'development'. His statement was notably light on references to the green economy or the job-creating potential of industries such as renewable power. Indeed there was mention of £250 million rebate to energy heavy industries. 

George Osborne fails to see the seismic shift in public opinion and advancement in technology that sustainable renewable energy is our future. In Somerset, I have seen individuals, schools and sizeable businesses take up this challenge. Yet, Mr Osborne wants to take us back to the Victorian era when the riches of the natural world were deemed infinite and free-for-all.  

When will he realise that our natural resources are finite. If we burden the next generation by trying to build industries on fossil fuels we will not achieve his goals of productivity. If we do not protect our oceans, our fisheries will fail. if we do not protect our biodiversity, species will be lost, agriculture will be compromised and we, and our country will be poorer. 

Surely politicians intent on short term gain and popularity should not be able to make rash, risky and uninformed decisions that will affect our own long term future and the future of our natural world. 

Ospreys just about clung on through the Victorian era...will Ozwold make it through the years following Osborne's legacy? 

November 21st to 26th locations in red

Novemver 12th to 26th - 440 square kms

Friday, 18 November 2011

Children vote for ospreys...

Sky Hawk has been shortlisted for the Red House Children's Book Award...the ONLY UK national award voted for entirely by children. The winner will be announced in February 2012.

Ozwold has lots of fans out there!

Huge thanks to readers for your votes and your support for Sky Hawk.

You can vote following the link;  http://www.redhousechildrensbookaward.co.uk/

Thursday, 17 November 2011

...and on...to AFRICA!!!!!!

WOW! breaking news!

It's been a nerve wracking two weeks waiting for news of Ozwold. Roy Dennis has been in Senegal looking for the Dyfi ospreys and filming with Autumn Watch. He said it was a fantastic trip so make sure you watch this Friday's Autumn Watch and we may well be in for an osprey spectacular.

So what was Ozwold doing all this time? Was he slipping back the sangria in Spain? or resting his toes in the River Tormes?

No, he was not...it looks like he decided the sands of the Sahara and the African Atlantic coast beckoned. What an incredible bird. I'd love to have a real bird eye view of all the things he has seen on his journey.

So, fresh from the press, or rather from Roy Dennis....here is Ozwold's remarkable journey...

He's off again

05 November 2011

He's off aagin - after spending his whole time on the river, he left that area this morning and at 1100hrs was flying south high over the Monfrague National Park and at 1500 was over the western Sierra Morana. By 1800hrs he had cleared the mountains and was roosting on farmlands near a small river N of Marchena, some 100 kms east of Seville, after a flight of 373 kms. Brilliant to see that he has decided he'll try Africa not winter in Spain. Roy said he overtook him on his day's flight as he was flown south from Gatwick to the Gambia - it looked a good day over southern Spain although a bit cloudy.

Nov 5th

Crossed to Morocco

06 November 2011
Set off after 0600hrs and stopped several times SW of Marchena and then on SSW. At 1200hrs was just north of Bornos Reservoir flying south at 31km/hr and just after 1500hrs flew out over the Atlantic Ocean just east of Barbate. An hour later he was flying over the sea at 21km/hr south 450 metres above the water; he was ashore at Tangier by 1700hrs and was roosting an hour later south of a big reservoir at Gharbia.

Nov 6th - 229 kms

On south through Morocco

07 November 2011
Had set off before 0800hrs and at 0900hrs flew out over coast at Larache and coasted south before coming ashore at midday at Ben Mansour. An hour later was flying south at Kenitra and by dark was roosting NE of Marrakesh after a flight of 452 kms.

On through the Atlas Mountains

08 November 2011
Ozwold flew south over the mountain ridges today and flew a distance of 300 kms - at 1500hrs he was east of Agadir and at 1900hrs was roosting on a high ridge at 1390 metres in the Anti Atlad ESE of Tiznit - tomorrow he will set off over the Sahara.

Nov 8th

Flying into the deserts

09 November 2011
He flew SW through southern Morocco during the morning and at 1400 hrs was flying SSW at 31km/hr at 1330 meters. At 1600hrs he crossed into Western Sahara and at 1900 was roosting in a massive dry river valley which finally runs into the sea at the coastal town of Aaiun after a flight of 340 kms

On into the deserts

10 November 2011
Flew on over the deserts heading SW so missed the NW corner of Mauritania. He made rather slow progress although by 1900 hrs he had covered 269 kms before roosting in featureless sand desert.

Dramatic turn to the Atlantic coast

11 November 2011
Instead of migrating on south through the desert, like most ospreys, Ozwold swerved right and flew straight west to the Atlantic coast and at 1500 hrs was coasting down the coast just a few kms offshore.

South to Mauritania

12 November 2011
The first signal at 1400hrs today showed that Ozwold was 342 kms down the coast. He flew south along the coast and at 1700hrs was approaching Mauritania. At 1800 hrs he was flying S at 40kms/hr at 190 metres over the massive iron ore port of Nouadhibou. An hour later he was roosting on the slopes above the southern part of the port.

Night roost 12th/13th Nov

To the Banc d'Arguin

13 November 2011
Today Ozwold flew 100kms SSE across the bay to Ile Nair, part of the Banc d'Arguin National Park coastal wetlands. This is one of the great wintering sites on the African coast for European waders and waterfowl. He settled down and on 13t - 16th November fished in the shallows and roosted at night in the desert. This could be a good place to winter - it's just north of where Morven winters.

Nov 13th - 16th


What a journey!

Incredible to think this 7 month old osprey has learned to fly and to fish and to follow some deep ingrained instinct to fly south. What is even more amazing is the route he has chosen...to navigate via areas offering protection and rich fishing grounds. Chance? or a genetic mental map? It's interesting to see that he has chosen to rest longer in areas rich in fish to build up strength for his journey ahead.

Keep safe Ozwold....where will we catch up with you next time?

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

waiting for news...

Roy Dennis is filming with Autumn Watch in Gambia and Senegal at the moment, looking for the Dyfi ospreys and filming other wildlife too. It would be great if he finds them and manages to film them for this Friday's Autumn Watch.

In the meantime, I'll await further news of Ozwold until Roy's return.

I have a feeling that he is still in Spain, but who knows! He could have covered a lot of ground in these last few days.

I'll update when I hear more news.

Friday, 4 November 2011

No change

The last data in shows Ozwold is still living and fishing along the River Tormes, south of Salamanca in Spain.

The weather there is warm at 17 degrees but a little unsettled. It looks like rain today but brightening later in the week. It's a good, safe place for him. Let's see what he decides to do over the next few weeks. Will he make a next big flight to Africa or stay put?

On a more worrying note, there are concerns for Leri, the female of the welsh ospreys being followed. Her transmitter had been giving out confusing data, both altitude and position. Frederick, a bird expert living near her last location has been to look for her, but unfortunately has not been able to sight her. The next data for her movements will come in today and will hopefully show good news. To follow the Dyfi ospreys...follow the link below


Furthermore, there has been no more transmission signals from Joe, one of the Highland Foundation for Wildlife ospreys. It is possible that his transmitter has failed or sadly that he has been predated and died. It just shows the struggles juveniles face in their first year. To read about Joe and other ospreys of the Highland Foundation for Wildlife follow the link below.