Lyster

Lyster and Kasper were both caught on the morning of 25 May 2011 in an area on the outskirts of Martham in the heart of the Norfolk Broads. The nets were up by 03.15 and we knew that there was a good chance of catching a bird as there were at least 6 in the area. Soon enough, we caught a male and this became our third bird of 2011. Not long afterwards Kasper flew into the nets.

Lyster's journey from 10 May 2012 to 08 August 2012

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No news may be bad news - 6 Sep 2012

No further signals have been received for John or Reacher since their last locations in France and Spain respectively. Taking a look back at the temperature data,  the last few messages received for each tag show a lot of variety associated with time of day - i.e. cooler in the early morning and reaching over 30°C in the afternoon. Temperatures prior to that had always been higher than 30°C, even when the Cuckoos were in Britain. This suggests that the bird’s body temperature wasn't influencing the tag's temperature much during these signals and does, unfortunately, support the idea that they may have perished.

The wildfires that have spread through Spain have been caused by chronic drought. While the wildfires themselves are unlikely to have effected these Cuckoos directly, the drought will have made Iberia far less suitable for fattening Cuckoos. 
 
John behaved very oddly once he got to north-eastern Spain and even made an oblique re-crossing of the Pyrenees, and Reacher disappeared in exactly the area where the recent fires have been reported. Lyster took a similar route, passing through Catalonia (one of the areas where fires have been reported) during late July and stopping off in what appeared to be an area of irrigated farmland rather than the montane forests he used last year. Perhaps he failed to deposit enough fuel for the desert crossing at this sub-optimal stopover location? . 
 
Lyster and Mungo M.I.A. - 20 Aug 2012

 We have concerns about both of these Cuckoos. Mungo was last heard of on 2nd August in the area north of Lake Chad that he arrived in on 26th July, soon after completing his desert crossing.  The charge on his tag was very low at that time. Lyster has not been heard of since 8th August, when he was still in sparse desert in Mauritania, having moved just a few kms in the preceding two days. His tag did not appear to be charging even though it was the middle of the day with very little cover in the area and the charge was very low when transmissions ceased. 

No news from Lyster - 15 Aug 2012

Lyster’s tag failed to transmit on the next 'on' period so we have received no further information about whether he has successfully completed his desert crossing or whether he remains in the desert.  This is a little worrying but, we have gone for long periods without receiving transmissions previously. 

Lyster yet to move on - 9 Aug 2012

We received several locations for Lyster yesterday (8 August) and all show him in the same part of the desert in Mauritania that he was resident in overnight 5/6 August. The fact that he remains in what appears to be a very barren part of the desert is certainly worrying but the best quality locations received on the morning of 6 August and afternoon of 8 August show that he is definitely moving around the area. Perhaps he has found a surprisingly good food source in the very sparse vegetation in the area? Or perhaps he is too weak to move on? When his tag resumes transmissions tomorrow evening (10 August) we should have a better idea of what is going on with Lyster.

Lyster still to complete desert crossing - 7 Aug 2012

A series of locations spanning the period from the early hours to mid-morning yesterday (Monday 6 July) all placed Lyster in the desert of southern Mauritania. He did not appear to move significantly during this but had progressed 570km (353 miles) SSW from his previous position late on 3 August. We would have expected Lyster to be continuing his migration during the hours of darkness, rather than stopping here, as this location is still a fair way into the desert and there does not appear to be much vegetation in the area. The temperature of his tag did not indicate any cause for concern but we should have more information tomorrow (Wednesday) about how Lyster is faring and whether he has completed the last leg of the desert crossing.