FK8 begins her first migration journey on 7th September 2014
Tweed Valley Osprey Project this year was fortunate to have one of the osprey offspring
fitted with a satellite transmitter, so that we could track her journey on migration. For the
first time, we can find out exactly what happens and where she goes when she leaves the
Borders. The bird is also fitted with a blue Darvic ring on her leg with the letters FK8, so that
she can be identified at a distance.
At the end of the summer we have waited in anticipation for the bird to leave the area. We
have been receiving data which we can open on Google Earth, to see each tracker point for
the bird as she moves about anywhere on earth.
She seemed reluctant to leave during the last weeks of August and spent much of the time
not roaming too far from the nest site, apart from visiting some local ponds for fish. In hindsight, she must have been preparing herself and getting in good condition for the journey. Then on 7th September, at 9.30am, her journey began.
Leaving the Tweed Valley
She left her forest home in the Tweed Valley and took a south westerly course, taking her
down past Craik Forest and Eskdalemuir, she was travelling over the hilltops which would
give her a good view of the layout of the landscape. She flew over the farmland between
Gretna Green and Longtown in Dumfriesshire, down into England crossing the Esk River
and the Eden River and onwards to the Lake District where she flew high over the hills to the
coast reaching the Duddon Estuary at just after 1.30pm.
She continued on straight across the bay, past Barrow in Furness and out into the Irish Sea.
She continued her seaward journey until she reached Liverpool Bay where she then headed
up the Dee Estuary at the Wirral peninsular, crossing the tidal area between Hilbre Islands
and West Kirby at 15.27pm. She then headed up the River Dee and into North Wales.
She flew into Halkyn across the Clwydian Range and the Vale of Clwyd and proceeded
south westerly to reach Lake Vyrnwy at 17.04pm. She didn’t pause in her journey and
continued to Clyweddog Dam, on the Llyn Clyweddog, north of the town of Llanidloes, where
she finally took a rest at 17.52pm and made this area her first overnight roost stop.
Her journey for her first day of migration covered a distance of just over 350km.
Last day in the UK
The next day, 8th September, she made a bright start and was on the move again at 6.56am,
taking a steady south westerly direction again and reaching the Gower coast in Swansea at
12.18pm and continued onwards, crossing the Bristol Channel at 12.38pm. She crossed the
bay and came inland at Bideford and down to Plymouth where she made a second roost
stop, at the River Lyne, at 15.46pm. Hopefully she managed to catch a fish and feed and
take a rest. Her second leg of the journey was 229.62 km.
Across the sea
On 9th September she started her next stage of the journey at 9.27am, once more in a south
westerly direction and out to sea across the Bay of Biscay. She flew all day and throughout
the night. She was flying at a height of 89m above the sea to begin with at a speed of 20
knots. By midnight, she was flying low over the water at between 1 and 5 metres above the
surface until she reached the Spanish coastline in the early hours of the morning, reaching
Calunga, Asturias at 4.04am. Her view of the mainland as she crossed the bay must have
been a welcome sight of occasional trees along the clifftop of the Spanish mainland, just
south of Lastres.
This incredible crossing was a distance of 772.9km. This has been her longest flight in her
whole life. She must have been tired and took a brief rest close to the cliffs. Hopefully, she
fished and took a deserved meal. She rested for 2.5 hrs and then she took off again. She
explored the Calunga coastal area for a while and then at 8.43am proceeded to make her
way. She didn’t fly for long before pausing to take another rest for 20 minutes which was just
3.43km away from her first Spanish mainland stop.
After such a brief period of rest following her incredible journey, she made the decision to
press on down through Spain. She flew west of the Cantabrian mountains and over the
Parque Naturel de Redes, where familiar birdlife such as dippers, woodpeckers, sandpipers
and black grouse inhabit, and the less familiar golden eagle…and the totally unfamiliar bears!
The habitat is mountainous and with plentiful rivers and streams. She didn’t hang around
and continued her southward route until 15.18pm where she took a tree roost close to the
Rio Bernesga. The river, hopefully provided a good meal and we hope that she has reached
this part of the journey in good condition. She stayed overnight, leaving at 6.37am on 11th
September, following the river and generally southwards. At midday she went over Leon
Airport and continued flying, until making another roost near Santa Marta del Tera at a forest plantation with a number of lakes close by.
Next morning, 12th September, she was on the move again at 8.22am. She continued flying
through southern Spain until roosting overnight on farmland. On 13th September, she again
made an early start and began her journey at 7.10am and pushed on until she reached
Portugal, crossing the border at 15.30pm, at Portalegre. She made roost in a clump of trees
not far from an artificial, rectangular shaped water body. Again, she set off early in the
morning of the 14th September at 8.26am until she reached the Algarve region of Southern
Portugal at Faro. She spent the two weeks until the end of September
exploring the whole of the coastal area of the Algarve, favouring an area of wetland, on the
River Arade. This is a notable area distinguished for the large suspension road bridge across
the Arade water.
She is hopefully enjoying plentiful fishing and good weather. FK8 has completed an epic
journey in her first month away from the Tweed Valley and is having a well-deserved rest
period on the Algave before she will take the next formidable venture on to Africa.
Migration of FK8
FK8 leaves Liverpool Bay and heads down the Dee Estuary just off Hilbre Islands at
15.27pm on 7th September.
FK8 roosts north of Llanidloes on her fist migration day, 7th September, at 17.52pm.
She stopped overnight, leaving the next morning at 6.56am.
FK8 reached the Gower, Swansea at 12.18pm on 8th September.
FK8’s migration route through the UK, showing overnight roost stops.
FK8 migration route from UK to Spain.
FK8’s journey through Wales.
FK8’s overnight flight across the Bay of Biscay and roost stops shown.
FK8 leaves the coast of the UK and heads out to sea at Whitsand Bay in Plymouth.
Coastal path at the start of the Channel crossing. FK8’s last view of the UK.
Spanish roost for 2.5hrs. 10th Sept at 5.01am after all night flight across Bay of Biscay.
FK8 ‘s route coming in off the Bay in yellow lines. First landing in Spain, exploring the
coast then moving off inland. 10th Sept 2014.
Group of dots show the overnight route position on 11th Sept near to Santa Marta de
Tera and a few stops beside the water body where she hopefully fed. Followed by the
yellow route direction south, as FK8 goes on her way.
FK8 is enjoying time spent at the River Arade in the Algarve region of Portugal and
the photo is the famous bridge over the river. The mouth of the river empties into the
Atlantic Ocean between the cities of Portimao and Lagoa on the Gulf of Cadiz.
FK8 enjoying her stay on the Algarve and having a break in her journey. Fishing and
spending time exploring the area on the south coast of Portugal along the Arade river
and estuary with occasional ventures out to sea. One journey took her almost 40 km
out to sea and then she returned to the mainland. Hopefully she will be building up
her reserves and feeding well to complete the next stage of her journey. She has
spent the last two weeks of September in this area.
Thanks for reading!