As we all know wind farms are a controversial subject, like many of the alternatives for producing electricity, but one Wind Farm ( Gunfleet Sands, off the Essex coast – owned by Dong Energy and Marubeni Corporation ) has just saved a migrating Osprey called Dulas who was caught out in the hurricane force winds of the last couple of days and decided to rest on a wind turbine – which probably saved his life.
When news emerged that Dulas was probably floating around in the Dover Straights hearts started fluttering and the tears started flowing amongst the followers of the Dyfi Osprey Project – except for the fact that he appeared to be floating around 10 meters above the surface of the sea! Some mental agility on the part of the Dyfi Project team offered the faint hope that he was sheltering part way up a wind turbine although the thought of a young Osprey sitting inches from the whirling blades of a wind turbine was not a very comforting thought for many people.
Dulas was born around 13 weeks ago in a nest on the Cors Dyfi Reserve near Machynlleth, Mid Wales in the U.K.
He was one of 3 Osprey chicks born to proud parents Monty and Nora.
I don’t know how many lives an Osprey has but Dulas had already lost one of his when his big sister, Leri, fought with him over a fish and got her talons into him. He got out of that one by playing dead – which everyone thought he was !
All 3 Osprey chicks were fitted with satellite tracking devices so that they could be followed on their migration from Wales to West Africa. This migration occurs around this time of year. Nora left the chicks with their Dad, Monty, some weeks ago and he has been bringing them fish ever since they were born. The chicks answer a call of nature to head South and they do so alone and when the voice in their head reaches a level they can no longer ignore. Dulas’s brother, Einion, left a few days ago and is already near Casablanca. Dulas was next to leave and it appears that Leri has just gone too.
Around 2000 people have been following Einion and Dulas via posts on the Dyfi Osprey Project’s Facebook page.
The team at the Dyfi Osprey Project have done a fantastic job telling people about the project and keeping them informed on the progress of the chicks.
People can track the migrating Ospreys via Google Earth or wait for the project team to post updates on the website or Facebook page.
Einion’s journey South was relatively straight forward apart from his journey across the Bay of Biscay which had everyone slightly concerned because it was blowing quite hard – fortunately it blew him towards land rather than away from it. Typically, on average, one in three chicks will survive the migration so the chances of Einion, Dulas and Leri making it to West Africa are slim.
When Dulas’s tracking signal stopped in the middle of the English Channel it looked like he might be one of the ones who would not make it.
However, following his rest on the wind turbines, he is now well into France ( Last night was a beautiful, moonlit night and with the wind dropping he probably left the wind farm early this morning ) .
The people that follow the Dyfi Osprey Project are by definition interested in nature and conservation so it is likely that, in general, they are against things that harm the environment.
The Osprey chicks were threatened by low flying R.A.F. jets a few weeks ago but after the project wrote to the R.A.F. they kindly diverted the training flights elsewhere.
When the possibility arose that Dulas was not floating dead in the sea but was alive and perched on a wind turbine there was relief and concern in equal measure. Relief that he had found a refuge in the storm but concerned at the whirling blades of the wind turbines ( One person just commented that ” at their tips they reach 60 m.p.h. ” ).
Earlier someone who ” hated wind farms ” had admitted that whilst they still hated land based wind farms they now had a slightly different view of sea based ones. It was likely that the turbines were ” feathered ” ( stopped ) in the recent high winds so there never was a danger from ” whirling blades ” and as one person pointed out, Ospreys have pretty good eyesight so maybe they could spot the blades and avoid them even if they were turning.
I myself have a rather mixed view about wind turbines. In general I think they are a ” drop in the ocean ” in terms of electricity supply and probably environmentalists will be horrified to know that I support nuclear power as the way forward.
However, a pub I own in North Wales ( the Glan yr Afon Inn, Holywell ) has benefited from the growth in the wind farm industry based out of Mostyn Docks on the North Wales coast and when you look out of The Glan over the River Dee and the approaches to Liverpool sometimes the glinting of the sun on the blades of the turbines actually looks quite beautiful.
When the Osprey Project contacted Dong Energy and asked them to look out for Dulas they dutifully conducted a search of the platforms and support vessels but concluded that he had already left for France and eventually West Africa.
How can you hate people like that ???
You can follow the Dyfi Ospreys here:
and on facebook here
Dong Energy’s Gunfleet Wind Farm is here
and Marubeni Corp is here