Tracking Rutland Osprey's Global Journeys

Two majestic male ospreys from Rutland Water, known as S1 and 4K, have been fitted with satellite transmitters so bird experts can track their amazing global journeys.

The high flyers were fitted with mini GPS trackers to help the Rutland Osprey Project track their movements throughout the year.  The data is providing valuable information on their movements locally too. 

The GPS units, weighing only 30g, work on solar power and allow location, altitude and speed to be recorded. The units are fitted to the birds like a small rucksack, allowing them to continue their normal activities.

Lloyd Park, Reserve Officer at Rutland Water Nature Reserve said;

“The transmitters provide highly accurate data that allows us to plot the birds’ exact movements both day and night. This is giving us an incredible insight into a range of different behaviours, including where and when they are fishing”.

The two ospreys were tagged under the guidance of world-renowned osprey expert, Roy Dennis, and colleague Dr Tim Mackrill, from the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation. They are working with the Trust’s Rutland Osprey Project, to shed new light on the annual marathon migration flights the birds make, flying to the west coast of Africa to over winter, and then returning to Rutland each spring to nest and raise chicks. The epic 3,000-mile journey sees young birds, which fly independently from their parents, battle strong winds that can carry them off track. Only 30% or so survive that first migration flight.

Osprey S1

A third Rutland osprey, a female known as 30(05), has been tracked since 2013 revealing fascinating data of her annual migration journey to the Senegal coast and back.

Anya Wicikowski, Rutland Osprey Project Officer said; 

“Aside from the scientific and conservation value of the tagging, the data provides an incredible educational resource and helps us to link young people along the osprey migration flyway. These latest tagged birds will form a key part of that work.” 

Members of the Rutland Osprey Project will be joining the Osprey Leadership Foundation in January for a trip to Senegal and the Gambia in hope of finding not just the tagged birds, but also other Rutland ospreys overwintering there. 

We look forward to following the return migration of the ospreys to Rutland Water in March 2019! 

Rutland Osprey Project’s tagged ospreys

30 (05), a 13-year-old female tagged in 2013

This female osprey winters every year on the coast of Senegal, just down from St Louis. The fastest time she has made the 3,000 mile journey is an astounding 11 days.  On the Rutland Osprey Project website migration map 30(05) has the green route.

S1, a three-year-old male tagged in summer 2018

This osprey has selected a wintering ground off the coast of Guinea-Bissau, on an archipelago called the Bissagos Islands. This is a beautiful group of small rainforest clad tropical islands and is a protected biosphere reserve. On the Rutland Osprey Project website migration map S1 has the yellow route.

4K, a five-year-old male tagged in summer 2018

Several days after the other satellite tagged birds had settled on their wintering grounds, 4K was still moving south. The Rutland Osprey Project team was wondering whether this young male would reach Sierra Leone, or maybe even Côte d'Ivoire but he eventually stopped half-way down the coast of French Guinea, near Boffa. On the Rutland Osprey Project website migration map 4K has the pink route.