Calypso was caught and tagged at the fantastic Wildgoose Rural Training and Nature Reserve where our tagging team received a very warm welcome. He is currently still at his tagging site.
Updates from our Cuckoos
Top BTO tagger Lee Barber arrived to find BTO Cymru colleague Kelvin Jones already on site, with the nets up and a recently caught Meadow Pipit and female Sparrowhawk ready to ring. Once these had been processed they switched their Cuckoo tape on and this generated instant interest from a nearby Cuckoo. After a few passes, JAC was in the net. JAC is still near his tagging location north of Llangollen.
Introducing Victor II
Victor II was tagged during a dawn catching session adjacent to the north-west shores of Loch Katrine. He was a welcome catch after a blank day, as catching proved trickier than expected despite the large numbers of Cuckoos around. This was partly due to the habitat - finding suitable catching places without large trees, power and phone lines or pylons overhead wasn't easy and the presence of real females made our dummy and lures less desirable! Since being tagged Victor II has moved south, making a brief stop in Essex before crossing the Channel into France where he is now near Saint-Pol-sur-Ternoise in northern France.
Ellis was caught at the same site near Loch Arklet in the Trossachs as Columbus. He was caught in the evening, in exactly the same part of the same net as Columbus. The team caught another Cuckoo at the same time, a female that was sneaking up on her perceived rival. Since being tagged, Ellis spent a few days near Bungay in Suffolk before crossing the Channel to the Netherlands. Having stopped off near Leiden in South Holland, updates received last night showed that he had flown 137 km (85 miles) north east to his current location near Leeuwarden in Friesland.
Columbus was the first bird the team caught in the Trossachs in 2021, at a spot adjacent to Loch Arklet. There were at least four male Cuckoos calling that morning and the local Meadow Pipits were on such high alert that they started mobbing the stuffed Cuckoo that the team use to lure the Cuckoos in. The team were very pleased to get their Scotland trip off to such a good start. Columbus is still at his breeding grounds where he was tagged.
No more updates from Carlton II
The net was set in the dark and as dawn broke the team were treated not just to calling Cuckoos but half a dozen Hobbys, which were feeding low over the disused gravel pits where they were tagging. The first Cuckoo caught was the one tagged, being a good weight, and still carrying a few juvenile feathers - this is Attenborough! Attenborough is still at his breeding grounds in Norfolk.
PJ still in Suffolk
Meet the 2021 Cuckoos
After being unable to tag any Cuckoos in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions, we are delighted to be able to introduce eleven new Cuckoos this year!
The tagging teams faced some very early starts as usual to tag the Cuckoos, but they were rewarded with birds who were interested enough in the female lure to be caught, weighed and tagged (with the exception of a location near Loch Katrine where there were a number of female Cuckoos around, making our lure less convincing!).
Some of these newly-tagged birds have already begun their migration south, with one in France, one in the Netherlands and one of the Scottish birds is already down in Essex.
Keep an eye on the individual birds' blogs for updates on their progress.
PJ is back again!
After five years and a staggering 50,000 miles, Suffolk Cuckoo PJ has once again returned from Africa to his breeding grounds in the King's Forest, Suffolk. He is the first of our tagged Cuckoos to survive five complete migrations with his tag still functioning. When we last updated you he was having a well deserved rest on the Isle of Wight, but despite the many attractions of that fine place, it couldn't keep him away from East Anglia for long. New updates received from PJ's tag at 07:30 yesterday morning (Friday 22nd April) showed that he had covered the final 223km (139 miles) from the Isle of Wight to Suffolk. Further updates since show him flying around his breeding grounds, less than 5 miles from us here at BTO HQ in Thetford. He will stay here until early July before beginning his journey back to Africa once again.
Gull ID virtual training (2 sessions, Wednesdays 10am)
The training will consist of two weekly online modules of 90–100 minutes each, complemented by supported self-study exercises which will be provided after each session. The training will be run by BTO staff members Nick...
Migration blog (22nd – 28th October)
Many bird watchers have been lamenting on what a poor autumn it has been so far for migration, with numbers of common, scarce, and expected rare species down on what would normally be expected.