A French stop-over

Ospreys often return to favoured stop-over locations during migration. These are often sites where they lingered during their first migration as a juvenile and they become important ‘goal areas’ during subsequent journeys. Last autumn Jules stopped-over at the Gulf of Morbihan in Brittany from 17 September to 2 October, and the latest satellite data shows that he has spent the last two days there as he migrates back to Scotland this spring.

In our previous update we reported that Jules had roosted to the east of Seville on the night of 22nd April. Next morning he resumed his migration at around 08:00 local time, and flew 138 km north to southern Extremadura before roosting close to Embalse de Navalespino.

Jules likely caught a fish next morning because he didn’t begin migrating again until around 10:00 local time. He made relatively good progress once he did resume his journey through eastern Extremadura; flying 239 km before stopping for the night at the north-east end of another reservoir, Embalse de Santa Teresa in Castile and León.

Jules made an even later start to his journey on 25th April, heading almost due east from his roost site at around midday. He turned to the north-east an hour later and then flew 160 km before roosting near a series of small lakes close to the village of Lastras de Cuéllar.

After three relatively easy days of migration, Jules set off on the morning of 26th April with much more purpose. He flew 252 km during the course of the day and reached the north coast of Spain just to the west of Bilbao around half an hour before sunset at 20:30. Usually this would be his cue to find somewhere to roost for the night, but on this occasion Jules showed no sign of letting up. As the sun set he was already 15 km out to sea, and during the course of the night he crossed the Bay of Biscay, flying 426 km at altitudes as low as 48 metres before making landfall to the south-west of Nantes just before sunrise next morning. He finally stopped to rest at around 09:30 local time just south of the Loire Estuary having flown 693 km from northern Spain in just over 24 hours.

Jules flew 693 km from Spain to Brittany in just over 24 hours

After resting for much of the day Jules flew 31 km north during late afternoon before roosting at the southern end of a lake in a forested area in southern Brittany.

On Saturday morning rather than continuing north Jules made a distinct turn to the west and flew 56 km to the Gulf of Morbihan, where he has remained since; returning to some of his favoured haunts from last autumn. It will be fascinating to see how long he remains there for.   Don’t forget that you can check out Jules’ flight so far on our interactive map.

Jules’ movements since arriving at Gulf of Morbihan (pink) in relation to his positions last autumn (green)