Coley I Update: Jamaica Bay Park Ranger Shalini Gopie reported that Coley I joined his mate on their nest during the afternoon on Saturday, March 22nd. Last year Coley left his winter home along the north shore of Colombia on March 5th and reached Jamaica Bay on March 20th. Like this year, his mate had arrived a few days earlier and was waiting for him as he completed his long journey north. Congratulations Coley on a safe return to home.
Coley II Continued: Coley II (C2) reached north central Florida in 8 days of flying. He has charted a course north that we have not seen from our other Ospreys. He was the first to fly through Jamaica reaching central Cuba in just 5 days. And when leaving Cuba on March 22nd, he was farther west than our other birds. He headed straight north crossing the Straits of Florida and into the Gulf of Mexico, passing just east of the Dry Tortugas and reaching the Gulf Coast of Florida at Sarasota. The normal route across the Straits of Florida is about 100 miles. C2 flew for 285 or more miles over water into the night from Cuba until he reached Sarasota. Let’s continue with his day-to-day progress to fill in some of the details of his travels:
Day 2 – March 17th Update – More data has become available for C2’s second day of travels. After 8 am, he flew west over the mouth of Lake Maracaibo where it empties into the Gulf of Venezuela, turned to the north and spent the night at the northwest end of the La Guajira Peninsula. From there he made an early morning departure to cross the Caribbean.
Day 5 – March 20th – C2 continued flying into the night and arrived in the Jardines de la Reina (Gardens of the Queen), a small archipelago along the south coast of Cuba, sometime before 5 am. He started heading north through Cuba shortly after sunrise and reached a small, dammed lake about 5 miles west of the city of Santa Clara at around 3 pm. Fishing must have been good, as an hour later he was perched probably eating his much needed dinner. He was still perched at 5 pm our last data point for the day.
Day 6 – March 21st – C2 got a late morning start and began heading northwest then west toward Havana. He reached a small marsh late in the afternoon about 16 miles east southeast of Havana, apparently fished again and spent the night near the lake. C2’s shortest day yet, only about 135 miles.
Day 7 – March 22nd – Sometime after 9 am, C2 was heading north. He passed over the north shore off Cuba after 10 am and continued north across the Straits of Florida into the Gulf of Mexico. As I mentioned, none of the other three Ospreys that we have tracked has been so far west in Cuba and literally missed the Florida Keys altogether. By 3 pm he was just east of the Dry Tortugas and about 60 miles west of Key West. By 7 pm he was 40 miles west of Sanibel Island, home of the International Osprey Foundation. He reached the coast of Sarasota in the dark at around 9:30 pm. Over 300 miles today!
Day 8 – March 23rd – We do not know where C2 spent last night, but by 11 am he was just east of Tampa. He flew to the north northeast until our last data point at 4 pm in north central Florida, about 15 miles east of Ocala. With a few more hours of daylight flying time left, chances are he made it to just a few miles south of Jacksonville before stopping for the night. A short day of about 150 miles.
All together, since leaving Lake Valencia in Venezuela, C2 has flown over 1,800 miles in 8 days. He has about 900 miles to go before he reaches Jamaica Bay. If winds are favorable, he could be there in 4 or 5 days.
Meanwhile, colleague, friend and Jamaica Bay Guardian Don Riepe and Dennis Guiney visited C2’s nest in Jamaica Bay yesterday. They reinforced the nest platform and added some nesting material. Thank you Don and Dennis for the “Home Improvements!”
C2 and Dr. Bob signing off.