Tag Archives: osprey journey

Flight of Tweed Valley Osprey FK8 during May and June 2015

FK8 has remained in Portugal but has extended her range from Portimao to an area further north.
9th /10th May. An overnight roost in the Penina Golf Course trees. This is 5km to the west of the usual haunts, along the River Arade near Portimao.

Penina golf course

Penina golf course

11th May, further exploration of the region, casting much further afield into a wide band north and west. After leaving the golf resort FK8 explored some of the artificial lakes in the countryside. This could be due to the summer drop in water levels in the rivers and streams.

pic 2 wider north to lake 2

The image above shows FK8’s journey from the River Arade across to the west to the Penina golf resort and then a long northerly exploration of water bodies to the north and back across to the River Arade.

Storks nesting on pylons and rooftops in the area of Portugal where FK8 has explored and their huge nests on the tops of the artificial poles may be a familiar sight reminding her of the treetop eyrie that she fledged from in the Tweed Valley last summer 2014.

pic 3 lake pic

This is a photo of the artificial lake that FK8  checked out on 11th May.

Dropping water levels on the same lake.

pic 5 storks

A storks nest on top of a telegraph pole.

The image above shows the journey on 22nd May. FK8 moved to the north and west of Portimao region and explored the artificial water bodies (reservoirs ) above the Rio Mira.

On 24th May FK8  made a steady journey to visit the artificial reservoir called Barragem de Morgavel. The west coastline of Portugal on the Atlantic Ocean can be seen to the left of the image above. A roost point on the lakeside is marked with a yellow ring.

The trend of movement seems to be generally northwards and seeking out large water bodies as the spring weather warmed up. If river levels were dropping then fishing may have become more difficult and hence the move to deeper water bodies with better fishing prospects.

The image below shows an overnight roost at the Barragem de Morgavel.

pic 7 Barragem de Morgavel


pic 9 journey Dec to May

This image shows the journey of FK8 since December 2014, showing the residency in Portimao and the trip to Spain in March, returning to Portugal to the Portimao area and then  the northerly  journey that has taken place in May, ending with the roost site on 25th May.

The image below shows a trip taken by FK8 over the period  28th-31st May, travelling north then south to explore the area.

pic 10 journey May 28th -31st

The image below shows a roost site on the edge of the reservoir and flight paths showing some movement through the day for fishing forays.

pic 11 close up shoreline roost


pic 12 travelling between two reservoirs

The image above shows FK8’s  journey flying between the two reservoirs of Barragem de Morgvel and Barragem de Camphilas.

The landscape in Portugal will consist of native species of Carob tree, Common Alder, Holm Oak, Kermes Oak, Portuguese Oak, Pyranean Oak, English Oak, Sweet Chestnut, Wild cherry, narrow leafed ash, strawberry tree, maritime pine, stone pine, alder buckthorn and cork oak and eucalyptus.

Familiar fish species will include, salmon, brown trout, sea trout and pike with the addition of native species of Iberian Barbel and soft mouthed bass plus the introduced rainbow trout.

An image of FK8’s whole journey so far to the end of June is shown below.

pic 13 full journey of FK8

On the move again

The Tweed Valley juvenile osprey FK8 spent the whole winter in the Portamao region of Portugal. She explored this area extensively and made good use of the water courses and landscape to hunt and roost. She has not wandered far from the region since arriving there after her long migration journey in November 2014.

On 28th February and 1st March 2015, she had a change in behaviour and crossed into Spain and made a journey of about 120 miles to the east along the coast of the Gulf of Cadiz and took up a roost there overnight. The sudden change in behaviour was quite exciting as she was not far from the Strait of Gibraltar which is a known migration funnel for raptors as they journey north. Could it be that she witnessed movement of passage birds and became curious about taking a closer look? Was she herself deciding to take a trip further south and to cross the Strait and move on down into Africa to complete the migration typical of most ospreys, or would she get caught up in the general migration drift of other birds moving through and decide to move northwards as they will be doing?

It is interesting to speculate why she suddenly became motivated to leave the region where she overwintered and we will be watching closely to see where she travels to next.

1 Portimao

A days movement in November, hunting and fishing along the watercourses in the Portamao region of Portugal.

2 Donana

28th Feb to 2nd March 2015. On the coast of Spain and exploring the Rio Guadalquivir, Donana.

3 flamingoes

Flamingo’s on the Rio Guadalquivir. This is the habitat FK8 is investigating and some of the birds she may well be encountering on her journey.

4 Gulf of Cadiz

The red dots and yellow circles show the route and roosts of FK8 along the coast of Spain.
The yellow marker at Rio Tinto, Huelva shows the approximate area that Tweed Valley bird CL9 was photographed last summer (2014). This was a year old bird which had fledged from the Back up nest. We had assumed that it had made its way there from Africa but perhaps it had overwintered in Spain or Portugal just like FK8.

5 march2nd data

The data from 2nd March shows that FK8 is still on the move and has explored the region of the Parque Nacional de Donana.
Will she continue south or stay in the area?

6 Donana photo

Photo taken in the Parque Nacional de Donana – the area where FK8 was exploring on 2nd March.

Migration journey begins

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.

Reaching Spain

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

The map above shows the whole journey during September of osprey FK8 from
Tweed Valley.

The journey begins. 9.30 am 7th September FK8 heads SW to the coast and reaches
the sea at Barrow in Furness and crosses the Irish Sea and on to Liverpool Bay.


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.

Route across Spain 10th Sept, fishing off the Rio Bernesga and roosting presumably
to eat at 15.18pm.

Bernesga River

Bernesga River

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.

Tree roost overnight on 12th Sept. Southern Spain.

Continuing south to Portugal 12th September.

Overnight roost in Portugal 13th September, close to what appears to be an artificial
water body.

Southern Portugal, 14th Sept roost and the time spent from 14th to 30th September in
the Algarve. Most of the time has been spent along the Arade River and Estuary.

Route across Spain and Portugal up to 18th Sept. roosts shown up to 15th Sept.

Rio de Arade, Portugal

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.

River Arade

Praia do Castelejo – Vila do Bispo – Faro – Portugal. A postcard view of
the coastal region where FK8 has spent the last two weeks of September.

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!