Notes on the Honey Buzzard Adult Male tracked by Satellite from Inverness
The treks recorded for the single juvenile and adult male Honey Buzzard in 2002 are shown at Honey Buzzard Migration Maps. A great deal of information was gained in following their movements.
The adult used its experience to navigate decisively down the spine of Britain. Leaving Inverness on 5th September 2002, it reached Riding Mill in Northumberland on 8th, near Oxford on 10th and Normandy, France on 12th having apparently crossed the English Channel from the Isle of Wight or Dorset to the Cherbourg area, a distance of about 100km. It thus took about four days to travel the length of England and cross the Channel, making a journey of 600km. Weather conditions were reasonable except for the 9th so this was a fairly optimum movement.
The male then travelled quickly through France and Spain reaching Morocco on 20th September and the northern edge of the Sahara Desert on the Morocco/Algeria border on 24th. By 28th it was on the southern edge of the Sahara Desert in Mali.
The male now continued slowly south and east for a further month making Gabon on 28th October where he spent the rest of the winter in coastal forests until at least 12th March 2003.
The route used is intriguing. The male appeared to aim for a crossing of the England/Scotland border relatively far east in southern Northumberland. Having reached such a position it could then move directly south for a safe crossing of the English Channel. The inexperienced Scottish youngsters have tended to move due south earlier in their journeys taking them out over Wales and Ireland for a perilous sea crossing.
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