Blue DF reaches Senegal

He’s made it. Last night Blue DF roosted 40 km to the east of Louga in northern Sengeal having completed his crossing of the Sahara in four days.

On Thursday night last week (21 September) Blue DF has roosted close to the Morocco-Western Sahara border in the Sahara and he left his roost at 09:20. Conditions were obviously perfect for migration because four hours after leaving his overnight roost he had already flown 197 km and crossed into Mauritania. He continued to make excellent progress during the afternoon, flying at altitudes of up to 1174 m, and by the time he stopped to roost at 18:49 he had flown 503 km on a constant south-westerly heading.

Blue DF’s was flying through Western Sahara on 21st September

Next morning Blue DF left his overnight roost in the desert fairly early, at 08:25. Like the previous day, conditions must have been in his favour because he made good progress, passing to the east of the vast Fderik iron ore mine at 11:02 and then onwards through the Akchar desert at altitudes of up to 1170 m. He continued flying until 19:20 when he finally settled to roost among sparse vegetation having flown a further 432 km through the desert.

Blue DF passed the vast Fderik iron ore mine on Friday morning (22nd Sept)

On Saturday morning Blue DF left his overnight roost just before 9:30, again on on a south-westerly heading. He made slower progress than the previous two days and by 14:11, when he was migrating at an altitude of 1500 m, he had flown 124 km. He eventually settled to roost for the evening at 18:30 having flown 252 km during the course of the day and was now just 80 km east of the Mauritanian capital, Nouakchott and nearing the end of his desert crossing.

Blue DF’s roost in the Sahara on Saturday evening

Blue DF must have sensed that he was close to completing his crossing of the Sahara because he left his roost early at 08:16. He appeared to be heading towards the coast, but at 10:22 he turned to a southerly heading for the next four hours, crossing the Senegal River at Richard Toll at 14:15 – his first sight of water for at least four days – before continuing south along the east shore of Lac de Guiers during the course of the afternoon. By 16:29 he was at the southern end of the vast lake, but it seems that he did not stop to catch a fish, and instead continued another 34 km south-west before settling to roost 20 km east of Louga in the arid north of Senegal.

Blue DF crossed the Senegal River on Sunday and then continued south along the east shore of Lac de Guiers

With the desert crossing behind him it will be fascinating to see where Blue DF migrates to. As an adult osprey he will have a regular wintering site in West Africa, but the question is where? On his current course he may be heading for the Sine-Saloum delta in Senegal, or he could head further south to The Gambia, the Casamance region of southern Senegal, or perhaps, Guinea-Bissau. Watch this space! In the meantime, you can check out his migration so far on our interactive map.

Blue DF flew 1500 km across the Sahara in four days between 21 and 24 September