Buck - 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

1 Oct-1 Nov 2011. Buck is back in Venezuela after a truly amazing, 3-month search for his home territory earlier this summer.
     This fall, he was behaving like a normal Osprey, moving down the Osprey Highway to the Tropics until he got to Cabo Beata in the Dominican Republic. From there he made two aborted trips over the Caribbean and then seemed settled in for a long stay. A month after arriving on Hispaniola, he suddenly took off and two days later was back at his wintering grounds in Venezuela's  Cienagas (Marshes) de Juan Manuel National Park.
     The white track is his first trip south back in 2009. The mass of blue spaghetti in the eastern US tracks his wandering around looking for his birthplace.
     Scroll down to follow his 8,000 mile tour of almost every eastern state this summer (don't miss this if you haven't seen it already), or

Skip ahead to his fall migration.
19 Apr-27 July 2011. Buck arrived home after the longest and most convoluted  trip we've ever seen.
     He made it across the Caribbean safe and sound dodging all the fish farms in Cuba as well as Cuba itself. He did some island hopping in the southern Bahamas and then set his sights, or at least his compass, on Cape Fear, NC.
     For three months and many thousand miles, he defyied conventional wisdom (male Ospreys almost always return to the vicinity of their nests to breed) wandering around the northeastern U.S. He kept trying to fly southwest toward his natal territory, but every time he got to North Carolina or Virginia he turned around and headed northeast again. Between 26 Apr and 6 July, he moved over 6,000 miles, measuring roost-to-roost distances! It appears he finally may have gotten around whatever was confusing his internal compass.
     He finally got into South Carolina and just blew past his old 'hood. His onboard navigation system, for which he deserves a refund, told him it was recalculating (again!) and finally got him back to his natal area on the Catawba River in Great Fall, SC. Tennessee.
     What a trip.

Scroll down to follow all his movement in 2001

Skip to the beginning of his spring migration.

Follow his travels in the U.S.

Home at last!
1-31 Jan 2011. Buck is a few months away from returning to the States. We don't know where he'll go, but it will probably be close to his natal area on the Catawba River near Great Falls, SC. This despite his having spent a month or so on the Cumberland River in Tennessee River before migrating to Venezuela.
Thanks to Venezuelan biologist Daniella Dearden, we have some great new pictures of the area where Buck has been trying to diminish the local fish populations for the past 18 months or so.
     Buck has spent his time down south in Venezuela's  Cienagas (Marshes) de Juan Manuel National Park. Here's the habitat Buck has called home since he got to South America. The water in the distance is Lake Maracaibo, which opens into the Gulf of Venezuela. In the south, it's mostly fresh water, but as you move north towards the Gulf, it becomes more and more saline.
1-28 Feb 2011. A familiar map!
     I'll be adding pictures when I get a chance.
1-31 Mar 2011. Departure pending....
1-22 Apr 2011. And, he's off! Buck spent the first 18 days of April in the Cienagas de Juan Manuel National Park. On the 19th and 20th he headed north, staying over land as long as possible (the first rule of Osprey migration). On the 21st, he pushed out over the Caribbean and did the 400 miles (665 km) crossing in probably 20 hours We don't know exactly when he made landfall in Haiti, but he was averaging a rather slow 20 mph between his 10AM departure from Colombia's Guajira Peninsula and our last fix for him at 9PM out over the Caribbean. So he probably made it to Haiti around 6AM.
21-24 Apr 2011. After about only 3 hours to rest up and maybe catch a fish, Buck was heading north by 9 AM. Eight and a half hours later, he left Haiti behind and headed over to roost on an island just 4 mi (7 km) off Haiti's north shore.
     On the 23rd he took off, looking like Cuba was his next stop, but then apparently caught sight of Great Inagua Island. Given that the island was north of where he was, it seemed like the right place to be, so he changed course. This meant that he would up skipping Cuba altogether, which, given our past experiences of Ospreys and Cuban fish farms, was a good thing.
23-24 Apr 2011. This track is a bit strange. We don't usually see so much meander in an overwater migration leg. Maybe he was getting distracted by islands as they came into view. Or winds may have been shifting.
24-26 Apr 2011. A bit of a cliff-hanger here. Our last signals from him on the 26th were about 30 mi south of Cape Fear, North Carolina.
     He clearly had his compass set on a number. How he came up with that direction, we can't know.
     On this crossing, he left his island roost around 8AM on the 25th and made it to North Carolina around noon the next day--28 hours of non-stop flight.
26 Apr-2 May 2011. Buck's going a bit rogue on us here. We expect males to return to the vicinity of their natal territory. Buck, apparently, did not study up on Osprey behavior.
28-4 May 2011. New Jersey makes the 10th state Buck has visited since he left his natal area back in the summer of '09.
     What's this southern boy doing heading for New England? Very strange.
4-8 May 2011. Buck settled down a bit along the Delaware River. He made a foray south through much of New Jersey and then retreated to his stronghold on the Delaware.
4-10 May 2011. On the 9th he headed southwest and got all the way into Virginia (again). He then made an almost complete about-face and flew northeast into Pennsylvania (adding West Virginia to his list of states visited).
10-12 May 2011. Buck continued on this northeasterly course, seemingly back in migration mode through the 11th and 12th. He flew right over Hartford and then settled to roost for the night east of Stafford Springs, CT.
12-16 May 2011. It sure looks like Buck's compass is a bit out of kilter and that's he's still migrating. On the 13th over a 13-hour period, he flew 200 mi (325 km), clearly following the maxim of going in a more or less fixed direction, but staying over land. The only place he slowed down at all was near the Cape Cod Canal, where he may have stopped for some fishing. The rest of the day was spent in dedicated movement. When he got to Cape Cod, it seems the urge to stay over land won out over the urge to fly east. This is a good thing. Otherwise he'd be on his way to Ireland about now. The Cape seems to have redirected him almost 180 degrees.
     He flew right over Boston and roosted in the Boston 'burbs on the 13th.
     Then it was off to New Hampshire! He seems to have settled down there, for a few days at least now.
14-16 May 2011. This looks like a good spot for an Osprey. I don't think he'll stay here long.
     This is going to be an interesting summer!
16-26 May 2011. On May 18th, Buck took off and headed home. On the 22nd he was up in the Appalachians in West Virginia. He got down into Virginia and then veered off course, winding up near Norfolk VA on the 24th. A day later he was backtracking into the Appalachians. He kept right on going and wound up in north central Pennsylvania on the 26th.
26 May-1 June 2011. Buck wandered over into New York and on the 29th made another somewhat half-hearted stab at getting south. He got to Cape May on the 30th and then retreated back to Massachusetts!
1-11 June 2011. He began another attempt to get home on the 1st with pretty much the same result. This time he got all the way into North Carolina, where he once again veered off course. It's as if he is meeting a barrier he can't get through. This must have something to do with his internal compass and sense of magnetic fields.
     We do not understand how birds do it, but they do somehow generate some sort of magnetic map of their world and use this to correct when they find themselves off course. We've seen this with a number of our young birds on their first trips north or south.
     However it is supposed to work, something is not happening for Buck.
11-19 June 2011. Without resting a day, Buck turned around on the 12th and tried again. Same result. He can't get through North Carolina. Five days after turning around he was back up in northern Massachusetts.
19 June-2 July 2011. Again, from one day to the next he switched from northbound to southbound, and once again got to North Carolina only to flip the switch once again and head back north.
     This time he had quite a bit of 'west' in his orientation and found himself in western Pennsylvania on 2 July.
2-6 July 2011. He's having another go at it. In the process he added Ohio to the list of states he has been in (that's a record 19 now)
14-16 May 2011. He is sort of making an 'end run' here. He was in Virginia on the 6th, but he once again is veering to the east. Will he make it this time?
     The area he has covered since arriving in the U.S. back in late April is roughly that of all of Great Britain and Ireland!
27 Apr- 4 July 2011. Using the Maryland border as a point of reference, we see that he has crossed it 11 times. Including his latest foray south (over on the West Virginia-Ohio border) and two trips into New Jersey and back, we see that he has tried to get south seven times.
     In 70 days he has moved (just measuring the distances between nightly roosts, 6,455 mi (10,388 km)!
6-15 July 2011. He got pretty close to home on this pass. He was about 35 mi. from the northernmost of his wanderings around his nest back in 2009 (the yellow track). On the 9th of July he spent the night at Coddle Creek Reservoir, where there has been a breeding pair of Ospreys for many years. From there he passed over Lake Norman, apparently unimpressed, and wandered back up into Virginia.
     His trip northeast out of North Carolina into Virginia on the 10th was right along the eastern escarpment of the Appalachians. He was probably working updrafts along the way.
     He spent 3 days on the James River near Lynchburg, VA and then went west to the New River, where he stayed until the 18th of July.
14-18 July 2011. He stayed here until the morning of the 18th, when he pushed on to the southwest.
11-27 July 2011. Buck finally arrived in his home state of South Carolina. But he was only passing through! This is the first time his travels this spring and summer have crossed places he visited back in the summer of 2009.
     Apparently he wasn't really impressed. He pushed right on through SC and then on the 21st crossed all of North Carolina's coastal expanse in a 9-hour dash. Well, almost all of it. His roost on the 22nd was 2 miles south of the VA border.
     The next four days saw him moving across Virginia and arriving back in the mountains of eastern Tennessee on 27 July.
28 July-13 August 2011.  After 11 days around Boone Lake and a quick one day 90 mile excursion to Knoxville on Aug, 1st he headed southeast through North Carolina (passing within 4 miles of my old  house!) on the 7th and 8th. At noon on the 8th he was about 27 mi (44 km) due east of his natal territory.
     He overshot and wound up on Lake Marion in South Carolina. The next couple of days saw him moving northwest, again overshooting the mark.
     I think he on-board navigation system was once again telling him it was recalculating and had him do a big U-turn.
     He finally, and I mean finally, made it home on 13 August, 109 days after hitting the North Carolina coast back on 26 April!
     I haven't calculated the distance he traveled over this time for the whole 109 days, but it's going to be close to 8,000 miles!
13 Aug-6 Sep 2011. Back home like he's never been away!
13 Aug-6 Sep 2011. Buck may have been over to his nest, but he was never there when his GPS took its hourly fix.
1-30 Sep 2011. Buck spent the month cruising his old 'hood waiting for the right set of hormones, weather, and body condition to align and get the urge to move stronger than inertia.
1-3 Oct 2011. Buck is heading south after a month and a half around his old home turf in South Carolina.
3-10 Oct 2011. Buck i
7-10 Oct 2011. Buck i
11-17 Oct 2011. Buck cruised through Haiti and made it to Cabo Beato in four days. Cabo Beato is a bit like Cape May or any other south facing peninsula in fall migration. Ospreys, like other raptors, like to stay over land as long as possible, so are funneled to concentration points like this.
     Cabo Beato would be a good spot to sit and watch Ospreys in the fall!
15-17 Oct 2011. Buck started out over the Caribbean around 2:30 PM on the 16th and then changed his mind and retreated to Isla Beata, where he spent the night. He then on the 17th hopped back over to the D.R. proper.
     It's unusual for a bird to retreat like this. Presumably he ran into some weather he didn't like, although nothing big shows up on radar in the Caribbean. Maybe he ran into a local squall.
16-19 Oct 2011. Buck made another aborted crossing of the Caribbean. This time he got a lot farther. He left the D.R. around 10 AM on the 19th. Seven hours later he was 144 mi (231 km) offshore. Shortly thereafter, he turned around and headed back to the D.R.
     Presumably, he ran into some bad weather, although I didn't see any sign of it on the Weather Underground website.
     Based on his travels in the States this summer, one might suggest he has ADHD and just couldn't remember what he was doing out there over the water.
15-17 Oct 2011. Buck seems to like Cabo Beata. He's spending a lot of time at Laguna Ovieda.

Here's what Wikipedia has to say about Laguna de Oviedo: It is a saltwater lake in Jaragua National Park. It is approximately 25 km2 in area, making it the second largest body of water in the Dominican Republic after Lake Enriquillo (where Snowy is currently in residence).

Although receiving freshwater from the Bahoruco Mountain Range, the lake is hypersaline due to sea water flowing into the lake through an underground system caused by a karstic depression.

Here's a photo of Laguna Oviedo where Buck has spent a lot of time fishing.
5-17 Oct 2011. It seemed like Buck was going to spend the winter on Cabo Beata. Then, out of the blue he moved north towards Santo Domingo. This made us very nervous, given the survival rate of zero for birds trying to winter in the D.R.
     Thus it was with great relief that I saw him heading south on Nov. 15.
5-17 Oct 2011. Buck had clear sailing across the Caribbean and wasted no time (for a change!) getting back to his wintering grounds. (I guess we should say his wintering waters--he really doesn't care about the ground there, after all.)
     The white tracks show his wandering back in 2009 when he first arrived in South America. He first settled down on the shores of the Gulf of Venezuela (where lots of our birds stop for a while) and then wandered around exploring. He finally settled down on the shores of Lake Maracaibo, and with the exception of one strange "road trip," stayed there for the duration.
     I remember when we tagged him back in 2009 how he was awfully small and skinny and thinking that I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't make it! And here he is, only the third of my 35 juveniles to make it back to his wintering waters.
17 Nov 2011. Buck is smack in the middle of the area where he spent most of his "gap year" abroad--fall of 2009 to spring of 2011. The blue tracks are from January-April of 2011.
17 Nov 2011. This is clearly prime real estate for a wintering Osprey--plenty of water, and it's a National Park.
     We're hoping to get better resolution images of the area sometime, but we're not holding our breath.
17-27 Nov 2011. This is Buck's last map. Much to our surprise and great disappointment, we stopped getting signals from Buck on Nov. 27th. He returned to his favorite perch (the cluster of points in the middle of the map) at noon on the 27th and didn't move the rest of the day. Those were the last signals we received from him. This one's hard to interpret. He probably died, but we usually get signals for a few days when a bird dies. The complete lack of signals after the last day is confusing. Sometimes we'll never know.

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