Snowy - 2011
'09 maps for: Bea -- Buck -- Caley -- Claws -- Conomo -- Hix -- Hudson 09 -- Isabel -- Katy -- L.R. --
Moffet -- Mr. Hannah
-- Ozzie -- Penelope -- Rafael
2010 maps for: Belle -- Buck -- Gunny -- Hudson -- Mr. Hannah -- Neale -- North Fork Bob -- Penelope -- Sanford -- Sr. Bones -- Thatch
2011 maps: Belle -- Buck -- Henrietta -- Katbird -- North Fork Bob -- Pemi -- Saco -- Sanford -- Sr. Bones -- Snowy -- Thatch -- Tucker

2012 maps: Art -- Belle -- Bridger -- Chip -- Cutch -- Jill -- North Fork Bob -- Rammie -- Snowy -- Sr. Bones -- Thatch
2013 maps: Art -- Belle -- Bridger -- North Fork Bob -- Rammie -- Snowy -- Sr. Bones
Osprey main page -- Migration page -- Migration09 -- Migration10 -- Migration 11 -- Migration 12 -- Migration 13 -- Home Page

4 Oct - 19 Dec 2011:
Snowy left Oyster Bay, where he spent about 7 weeks, in Northwestern Long Island and 12 days later was in the Dominican Republic.
     He took the standard route that all adults and some juveniles follow down the east coast and over the Georgia Bight to Florida.
     The weather was fine all the way, so it was all migration with no breaks.
     After almost a month in the D.R. (making us very nervous) he took off on Nov 12th and sometime on the morning of the 14th he arrived on the Guajira Peninsula in eastern Colombia, where so many of our other tagged birds have made landfall in South America.
     Without delay, Snowy crossed the Gulf of Venezuela and pushed southeast through Venezuela.
     He seems to have settled down, at least for the time being. He's now doing the teenaged Osprey thing--working out of a good fishing area, he's making forays out across the countryside and coming back to a spot that has provided good fishing.

Snowy successfully caught fish for 18 months and returned to the states in spring of 2013. On his 2nd trip south, he decided to eschew the Caribbean crossing and has settled down in northern Cuba.

Scroll down for all his maps, or...

Skip to the start of his fall migration.
16-19 July 2011:
Snowy was probably a few days past 8 weeks when we tagged him on 16 July. He was already flying, but still seems to be hanging close to his nest.
     This nest has not been a very productive one over the years, but this year they fledged two young.
22 July-4 Aug 2011:
Snowy's beginning to explore. Looks like he perched on the Edgartown Lighthouse!
25 July-7 Aug 2011:
Snowy discovered the Vineyard Haven Lagoon, where we see lots of Ospreys hunting.
7-10 Aug 2011:
Snowy spent most of this time around the Lagoon and his nest. He did find James' Pond on the North Shore. This is another spot lots of our birds go to fish.
22 July-4 Aug 2011:
A close up of the apparently very fishy upper lagoon. There is a dike (visible) and herring run (not) that separates the "Upper Lagoon" from the rest of it. Obviously the fishing is better above the dike.
11-15 Aug 2011:
Snowy took off on the 11th. Given the northern direction, this looks like pre-migration dispersal or wandering, to put a less pretentious name to it. His first roost off island was south of Plymouth.
     He continued to explore on the 12th, roosting that night between Webster and Worcester, not far from Lake Chaubunagungamaug, now renamed by the linguistic cowards who live there as Lake Webster.
     The next three day were spent in northwestern Rhode Island. This area (northeast CT and northwest RI) is a magnetic area for our Ospreys. Many of our birds have stopped here, and adults with failed nests will commute from the Vineyard to here prior to migrating south.
11-15 Aug 2011:
Snowy fished at the Smith and Sayles Reservoirs on the 13th and 14th and then moved down to the Scituate Reservoir on the 15.
16-18 Aug 2011:
Snowy left bright and early on the 16th. He was already on the move at 7AM--early for an Osprey to start moving. They usually don't get going until 8-9 or even later. He covered 123 mil (198 km) over the course of the day. It wasn't all moving, as is evident from the proximity of some of the hourly fixes.
     It seems that the migration urge is kicking in, but  he's getting distracted. Just like a teenager. (Or me.)
16-18 Aug 2011:
Snowy spent a couple of days around Great South Bay, in Islip.
16-19 Aug 2011:
On the 19th, he was off again for a short hop (27 mi/44 km)northwest to Hempstead Harbor.
19 Aug-6 Sep 2011:
After 2 days in Hempstead Harbor, Snowy moved over to Oyster Bay, where he seems to be having a good time. Most of the time he's been in this corner of Long Island, the weather has been dreadful, with Irene and Lee pummeling the area with rain.
7 Sep-4 Oct 2011:
Snowy spent another month around Oyster Bay. He made a quick trip to LaGuardia Airport (Flushing Bay)--maybe he was checking for flights to Venezuela?--but quickly retreated to Oyster Bay.
     He took off for "Points South" (an old friend used to think "Points North" was a town in Maine) around 11:something on the 4th.
7 Sep-4 Oct 2011:
Snowy had it pretty easy, apparently, around Oyster Bay. He didn't have to go far to catch his daily quota for most of the month of September.
4-5 Oct 2011:
Snowy's off on migration. He spent the night of the 4th near Bass River, NJ. He was almost certainly one of the 88 Ospreys counted at Cape May on the 5th.
     He made it to Keller, VA, on the 5th.
5-7 Oct 2011:
Snowy started migrating on the 5th around 8 AM. He crossed the mouth of Chesapeake Bay just after 10 AM, passed through Newport News, VA, and kept right on pushing south.
      He left the NC coast around 4:30 PM a bit west of Beaufort, NC. He had a good tailwind, apparently, as he was averaging 31 mph (50 kph) for the last 5 hours his GPS was collecting data on the 6th.
     He landed in Florida near Jacksonville around 6 AM (assuming he continued the 30 mph pace). He rested just a few hours before continuing south.
     He only moved about 100 miles south on the 7th after making landfall, but after his all-nighter on the 6th-7th, he covered 750 miles (1.195 km) in two days.
7-11 Oct 2011:
Snowy moseyed down Florida on the 8th and 9th, leaving the Keys around 6 PM. He flew through the night, landing in Cuba probably around 1 AM.
     He was off on his way around 11 AM, probably after a morning fishing somewhere near the coast.
     On the 11th he moved a modest 150 miles and settled down southwest of Siboney, about halfway through the Cuba section of the Ospreys' Highway to the Tropics.
12-15 Oct 2011:
He's still on the move. He flew over Guantanamo Bay on the 13th and kept right on going.
     He left Cuba around 4:30 PM and covered the 55 miles (90 km) to Haiti in about two and a half hours.
     On the 14th he moved another 130 miles and spent the night just across the border in the Dominican Republic.
     On the 15th he moved just 44 miles south to Lago (Lake) Enriquillo, where he has settled down for 10 days.
15-27 Oct 2011:
Snowy seems to have settled down just below Lago Enriquillo.

      Lake Enriquillo is a 102 square miles (265 km²) lake and is the largest lake and lowest point in the Caribbean and the lowest point on any ocean island (129 feet (39 m) below sea level). It has no outlet. It is one of only a few saltwater lakes in the world inhabited by crocodiles. Lake Enriquillo is located in a rift valley formed by the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden fault that extends 79 miles (127 km) from Port-au-Prince Bay in Haiti in the west, to near Neiba Bay in the D. R. in the east. This fault was responsible for the catastrophic 2010 Haiti earthquake.

More on the lake on Wikipedia
15-27 Oct 2011:
Snowy seems to be finding all the fish he needs right in this small area.
     We don't like our birds settling down in the D.R.--all 4 birds that tried to overwinter in the country were shot.
     If he stays right here, he would probably be safe, but most youngsters tend to wander around, and that almost inevitably puts them in contact with Dominicans, many of whom are afraid that Ospreys will eat their chickens or, for those better informed about Osprey ecology, don't want to share their fish.
23 Oct-7 Nov 2011:
Snowy spent another couple of weeks around Lake Enriquillo. Around midday on the 30th he made a three-hour trip to the south that looks like a restart or his migration. Something changed his mind and he retreated to his spot at the shore of the lake.

8-14 Nov 2011: After almost a month in the D.R., where it looked like he was going to spend the winter, Snowy started migrating again. He had clear sailing for his crossing of the Caribbean. It looks like he had some shifting winds, but somehow managed to find the shortest distance from Hispaniola to the Guajira Peninsula in Colombia.
     Don't forget that he didn't necessarily follow that ruler-straight path from his last fix on the 13th to his landfall in Colombia. He probably wandered a bit, but finally did find the very northernmost bit of South America.
     In the first 12 hours over the water he covered 205 miles (331 km) at a rather pokey speed of 17 mph (28 kph). If he kept that pace up and really did follow that straight line, he would have made landfall about 6 AM, 22 hours after leaving the D.R.
15-27 Oct 2011:
Snowy spent a few hours around Bahia Hondita, where Jaws, our first juvenile to make it to South America, spent his 18-month "gap year." Apparently, he wasn't very impressed and kept on moving.
     He spent the night of the 14th in the desert and then continued west until he ran out of land. He then turned south east and crossed the Gulf of Venezuela.
15-17 Nov 2011:
Migration continues. Snowy is cruising right along, pushing southeast through Venezuela.
17-22 Nov 2011:
Snowy kept on moving and got to the Meta River on the Colombian border. He spent only a night there before heading back north across the strange sand-dune filled area in the Venezuelan state of Apure.
     On the 22nd he crossed the Rio Apure and settled down for a week.
1-3 Dec 2011: Snowy made a 2-day, 144 mi. trip down into the dunes of Apure and back again.
     This is the kind of behavior we see in juveniles when they are beginning to settle down. They find a spot and then make forays out and back, exploring the countryside in search of better fishing.
1 Dec 2011: Snowy spent just a few hours and the night here along a small river that bisects the dunes of Apure. Several of our birds have either passed through this area or spent some time. From Wikipedia: A large part of the state of Apure is constituted by an extensive field of dunes (occupying some 30,000 km²), which has the peculiarity of not being a desert climate but a savannah, with natural grasslands alternating with corridors of jungle and voluminous rivers with sand dunes of more than 100 km in length and 20 m in height. 
30 Nov - 5 Dec 2011: Snowy is back from his brief road trip.
     Will this be the place he settles down for a year and a half?
     The resolution is poor on these Google Earth images, so it's hard to tell what kind of landscape he's in.
5-13 Dec 2011: Not much going on. He seems to like it here.
13-19 Dec 2011: Road trip! Snowy went out exploring the countryside but apparently didn't find anyplace better than his currently favorite spot just north of the Apure River.
     The other white tracks show his first explorations of this part of Venezuela. He arrived in the area on the 17th of November and made it down to the Meta River on the Colombia/Venezuela Border without lingering more than two nights anywhere.
     On the 21st he backtracked for the first time since his migration began on 4 Oct. He returned to the general area of his Nov. 18th and 19th roosts, where he settled down for 11 days. He made a brief foray south in early December and then spent another week at his favorite (so far) fishing waters.
     On the 13th he started another trip across the Venezuelan countryside. This six-day trip was about 375 miles.
     By December, most young have pretty much settled down. The next few months may see more exploration, but it's a good bet that this will be where he spends the next year and a half.
     Unless he doesn't!
30 Nov 2011-5 Jan 2012: Three road trips! Snowy explored to the south on 1 Dec, then made a big swing east in the middle of the month, and then went southwest at the very end of the month. We can expect more wandering, especially as the llanos habitat dries out as the dry season progresses. The distance between the farthers points on this map is 445 miles (716 km).
Jan 2012: At the beginning of the month, Snowy moved north about 50 miles. Except for a brief sortie on the 9th and 10th, he didn't move much.
1-29 Feb 2012: Snowy settled down and didn't move much in February.
Feb 2012: These are some of the locations for Snowy. He's found a small river that seems to be providing good fishing. This is the good news.
Feb 2012: Turns out what I thought was bad news is, isn't bad news after all. All those strange rectangular ponds looked like fish ponds to me, and that, of course made me very nervous.
     So, it turns out that these ponds are called "prestamos," which in Spanish (and Portuguese) means "borrows." The road construction crews took dirt from along the road to get the roads high enough to stay dry in the rainy season when much of these llanos flood. Most of them probably don't have any sizable fish in them, but some, like the ones where Snowy spent some time on this image, are connected to streams or canals, so I suspect there's some tasty Osprey food in some of them.
     Thanks to our Venezuelan colleague Daniella Deardem for the info (and the picture below). My blood pressure just went down a few points.
     (Scroll down to see a photo of this habitat.)
Here's the Venezuelan llanos and part of one of the "prestamos" ponds that had me fretting about fish farm ponds.

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