Arrived in Casamance

In our previous update Blue DF was flying south through northern Senegal, and we wondered how far south he would continue. Would he winter somewhere in Senegal or The Gambia, or continue further south into Guinea-Bissau? As an experienced adult osprey – Blue DF is seven years old – he will have an established wintering site in West Africa, and the latest batch of data suggests that his is likely a creek on the north side of the Casamance River in southern Senegal. Having arrived there on Tuesday afternoon he has made only local movements since, suggesting that he has reached his winter home.

The previous data had shown that Blue DF roosted near Louga in northern Senegal on Sunday evening (24th September). He resumed his migration at approximately 10:15 next morning and made fairly leisurely progress south, passing over Touba at 14:50 at an altitude of 404 m having flown 86 km. He continued on a southerly heading until 17:48 when he stopped just to the north of the town of Guinguineo after a day’s flight of 157 km.

Blue DF was perchded beside the Saloum River near Kaolack for two hours on Tuesday morning, presumably eating a fish

Next morning he almost certainly fished in the Saloum River a few kilometres east of Kaolack because he was perched beside the river for almost two hours from 08:13, presumably eating his catch. He resumed his migration at around 10:00 and by 12:44 he had flown 77 km and was crossing the River Gambia at Tendaba at an altitude of 478 m.

Blue DF crossed the River Gambia at Tendaba, a famous birding destination

Having crossed the river he made a distinct turn to the south-west. He crossed back in Senegal at 14:15 and at 15:32 he was flying over a series of creeks on the north side of the Casamance River. By 18:24 he had continued south and was over the north shore of the main river, but he then double-backed and settled to roost for the night in a forested area beside a creek 15 km north of the town of Ziguinchor after a day’s flight of  261 km.

Blue DF roosted in a wooded area on the north side of the Casamance River on Tuesday evening

At dawn on Wednesday morning Blue DF flew 15 km north, back to the creek near the village of Diegoun. Later in the morning he set-off on a 61 km, 5 hour circuit of the north side of the creek, perhaps checking out which other ospreys had returned. By 15:51 he was back in the creek near Diegoum before morving 8 km north to roost in another part of the creek near Baila.

Yesterday Blue DF made shorter local movements around the creek and at 18:44 was perched on the mud 2.5 km from Baila, where he settled to roost for the night. It certainly seems likely that he has reached his winter home.

Blue DF has made two long exploratory flights since arriving in Casamance on Tuesday afternoon

Blue DF made only short local movments yesterday and has roosted in the creek near the village of Baila for the past two nights (roost sites 5 km apart)

Assuming that Blue DF has now arrived at his wintering site his migration from Scotland took a total of 19 days, during which period he covered a total of 5494 km. He covered an average of 268 km per day through Europe, and 313 km per day in Africa. You can check out Blue DF’s complete migration on our interactive map. 

The final leg of Blue DF’s migration to the Casamance region of southern Senegal

Blue DF flew 5494 km from Scotland to Senegal in 19 days