No news

I had hoped by now signals would have been received from the GSM transmitter but nothing has come in which could mean that he died or was killed on the Sahara Desert crossing, or he is at a wetland, possibly western Mali which does not have mobile phone reception, or that the transmitter has failed.  The GSM transmitters give incredible detail but the disadvantage is that the osprey has to pass a mobile phone mast to send data. The older GPS transmitters gave less data but would give a last known location. Fingers crossed.

Heading into the Sahara Desert

On 24th September Sagal set off SSW over Morocco and at 16.11 was flying over the Tafertte mountains and at 1645 headed more to SW before settling for the night on a ridge in the mountains after a migration of 264 km.  Next morning he slowly moved south and for an hour from 0930 GMT was in a small river valley; then at 1036 he headed just west of south. During the morning he flew over the high Atlas mountains. At 11.21 east of Midelt and the last signal of this batch was at 1520 when he was west of El Jorf (after 156 km) flying SSW at 32 knots at over 2000 metres altitude. He is heading into the desert and the Algerian border, but needs to head more to the SW for a quicker journey to the West African wintering grounds.

September 24th - 25th

September 24th – 25th

Sagal crosses Mediterranean Sea to Morocco

On 21st September Sagal started migrating at 0815GMT and headed SSE until after midday when he changed to south on a course east of the normal route, through Spain, for Scottish adult ospreys. He was using thermals up to 3162 metres above sea level near Albarraca and came to roost for the night in woods midway between Cuenca and the coast, after a flight of 285 km.  On 22nd he was on his way by 0845GMT and was near Motilla del Palancar ar 1100; he continued a course through eastern Spain and settled for the night after a flight of 260 km. On 23rd he was migrating before 9am and continued through the hills directly towards the highest mountains at Sierra Nevada, climbing over them at an altitude of 3678metres at 1250GMT. He then flew towards the coast losing height to fly out over the Mediterranean Sea at Motril at 13.47hrs at an altitude of just 43 metres. His flight across the Med was direct and mainly between 10 and 100 metres. After 4 hours and 11 minutes he reached the coast of Morocco at the headland of El Hoceima. He headed inland and quickly found a good roost site in sparse woodland on the north side of a small mountain. Today’s flight was 325 km and his passage over the sea was well east of Gibraltar.

Migration September 21st - 23rd

Migration September 21st – 23rd


Sagal's night roost North Morocco

Sagal’s night roost North Morocco

Sagal arrives in Spain

Sagal left the roost area after 6am and at 06.32GMT was flying over the south end of the lake; he passed over Lac de Lacanau and at 10.22 started a crossing of the Bay of Arcachan. At 12.29 he was 18km east of Mimizan and at 14.34 was east of Bayonne. At 16.11 he crossed over the western Pyrenees at Aztakane 927 metres into northern Spain – a regular route for Beatrice (the old female osprey). He flew south over Pamplona at 17.07 and at 18.16GMT was flying south towards the Ebro valley, near Peralta, after nearly 250km; and after another 4 km settled for the night in a small wood not far from Rio Arga Falces..

September 20th

September 20th

Following the French coast

Sagal left the roost and set off south at 08.20GMT and was east of Challans at 09.35. At 10.17 reached the French coast at Bretignolles-sur-Mer and headed down the coast to Les Sables-d’Olonne, where at 10.39 he headed out to sea and at 11.10GMT he was heading SSE for the NW point of Ile de Re, after 80 km of flying. He flew on over the island and then headed for Ile d’Oleron, passin over the whole island he flew on and started a crossing of the outer Gironde estuary at 13.32GMT. Sagal arrived on the south shore 12 minutes later and at 15.30 arrived on the east shore of Lac d’Hourtin. He settled there and roosted beside a track in a pine forest one km from the lake shore.

September 19th

September 19th

A quiet day’s migration

At 07.38GMT Sagal was perched 4 km south of his night roost and then set off south. At 09.24 he arrived at a small group of lakes just west of Chauvagne and stayed there for nearly three hours. Almost certainly fishing, eating and resting after two major days of migration. At 12.14GMT he headed south and passed over the River Loire, west of Nantes, at 14.24 hrs. At 15.20 he arrived in a forested area with a small long lake at La Marne, about 25 km SW of Nantes. He settled there for the rest of the day and for the night after a day’s flight of 180 km.

September 18th

September 18th

Sagal gets to France

Sagal started migration today at 6.40am and was just north of Droitwich at 10.27am. 11.13 west at Tewkesbury and at 12.43am flew over centre of Bath and at 2.17pm flew out from the Dorset coast at Ringstead Bay – flying SSW at 28 knots at 418 metres; fourteen minutes later Sagal was 5 km east of Portland Bill. He flew on over the English Channel and was getting some help with thermals or wind sheer as he was at 326m above the sea at 14.44 and reached 702 metres five minutes later. at 4pm he made a small diversion to pass over the west end of Alderney and over Jersey at 15.19 – again without stopping. He passed over the French island of Iles Chausey at 18.22 and the French coast east of St Malo at 18.47.  Sagal came to roost the night 5.7 km from the coast after an amazing flight of 560 km.

September 17th

September 17th


Sagal sets off on migration

Sagal set off from his nest in Strathspey after 10am on 16th September in good weather. He was over Aviemore at 10.43am flying south towards the Cairngorms. At 12.22 he was near Bridge of Cally and after 1pm was over Fife where he started thermalling to 1174 metres. He crossed the Firth of Forth to Musselburgh and was near Selkirk at 3.15pm. He crossed the English Border before 5pm and headed on south to finish his flight, after 440 km, at Lostock, north of Manchester. He first of all roosted in some trees in the town and then flew on to Hulton Park, between Manchester and Wigan. He must have also found this too busy as he moved after midnight to farmland trees south of Atherton – it was a full moon. A very good migration for his first day.

September 16th migration

September 16th migration


Sagal – new young male osprey

Sagal’s parents took over Green J’s old nest in 2015 and both returned this year and bred for the first time. The female did not lay eggs until second week May so they were later nesters – the female laid two eggs which is normal for a first time breeder. Our ringing visit was on 20th July and the pair had just one young – rather a small male weighing 1230 gms. We caught him for satellite tagging on 19th August when his weight had increased to 1540 gms, which is good for a male. This sat tag is a Microwave GSM model which gives incredible detail of migrations – it was fully funded by Gerry Logue of the Sagal group ( The name comes from the initials of the furniture comapanies founders – but is also an Africa name for Morning Star – that sounds good.  Tim Mackrill (who is completing his PhD on ospreys) and I have analysed the migration data and submitted a paper on our adult ospreys carrying GSM transmitters – particularly their ability to use thermals. Hopefully, Sagal will teach us how quickly young ospreys become proficient at this method of migration.

Sagal - 19th August 2016

Sagal – 19th August 2016