Since our last report, Coley has spent several days, up to the 22nd, resting and feeding in the southern Oriente section of Cuba in the Provinces of Granma and Santiago de Cuba. On the 23rd, he headed east to Haiti and then to the Dominican Republic. As I write this report, he is rapidly approaching the north coast of South America where he will likely reach land in Colombia. Our last data point was last night (the 25th) at 7pm when he was 9 hours and over 240 miles into possibly a 24-hour trans-Caribbean flight.
He’s now on his 16th day of migrating. Here are some details of his most recent push east and south:
September 23 – Around 9am this morning Coley departed from just north of Santiago de Cuba heading east. At noon, he was less than a mile north of the US Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay. By 4pm he had reached the extreme southeast coast of Cuba and began crossing the Windward Passage to Haiti. He shifted directions to the southeast, flying into the night, and passing over Ile de la Gonave, Haiti. He arrived on the island of Hispaniola about 20 miles west of Port-au-Prince, the capital and largest city in Haiti, at around 11pm. Today’s flight: 14 hours and 245 miles, including 153 miles mostly over water.
September 24 – Today was a short day, passing through Haiti and to the southernmost tip of the Dominican Republic at Cabo Beata (Cape Beata). This is the jumping off place for many Ospreys that head out over the Caribbean Sea. Both Nantucket birds I’ve tracked, Señor Bones and the late Mr. Hannah, have used this Cape before taking the perilous journey over water to South America.
September 25 – Around 9am this morning, Coley took flight heading south over the Caribbean. The winds must have been out of the east as his flight path was southwest. Our last data point for the day was at 7pm, when there was just a hint of light left on the horizon. If he continues in the southwest direction, he will end up in Panama nearly 500 miles away. If he changes direction and heads south, he will hit the coast of Colombia in about 240 miles. And if the wind changes and he heads southeast, he would land on the Peninsula de la Guajira (the northernmost part of South America) in Colombia, only 190 miles away.
Crossing the Caribbean can be risky at this time of year. Hurricane season is upon us and many Ospreys, including Mr. Hannah from Nantucket, have flown right into powerful storms that drive them way off course and exhaust them with strong winds and rain. Normally under favorable conditions, it takes an Osprey about 24 hours to cross the Caribbean. In 2010, Mr. Hannah took over 50 hours to cross. He was not able to recover completely from the storm or the long crossing and he disappeared from our tracking a few days later in a pond east of the harbor at Willemstad on the island of Curaçao off of Venezuela. We hoped at the time that his transmitter had failed, but when he did not show up at his nest in March 2011, we gave up on him ever returning.
Good luck Coley with the remainder of your trans-Caribbean flight!
Next time we check in we expect he will likely be safely in Colombia.
Coley and Dr. Bob Signing off