By 30 November, Chester was on the move again, having spent roughly 14 days in his previous location in Nigeria he then headed south-east to a location close to the border of Cameroon. From here he has travelled 640km (400 miles) to Gabon, and finally arrived in the Congo rainforest area on 2 December. he is the last of all the tagged Cuckoos to arrive there. In 2013, BB was the last of the Cuckoos to arrive in the rainforest, arrving on 7 December.
Updates from our Cuckoos
Read the latest updates from our Cuckoos on their migration.
Chester in Gabon
Chester heading towards rainforest
Chester has continued on east from Ghana, over Togo and Benin, to make it to Nigeria by the morning of the 16 November. He is now close to Lokoja, a city which lies at the confluence of the Niger and Benue rivers, and is moving closer to the Congo rainforest in which all our other active tagged Cuckoos are in.
Chester moves east
Early yesterday evening we received signals from Chester's tag to show that he had moved further east and south, leaving Ivory Coast and crossing over into Ghana. He is now close to Lake Volta, an area we have seen the Cuckoos use before, although previously this is normally on their spring migration as they head north to return to the UK.
Chester in Ivory Coast
In the last few days, Chester has moved 445km (275 miles) south from his location in the north of Burkina Faso and he is now in Ivory Coast. He is still very far west of all the other Cuckoos so it is perhaps a little surprising that he has chosen to move south rather than east. He has, however, moved to Comoé National Park , a World Heritage Site due to the diversity of plant life present around the Comoé River including pristine patches of tropical rain forest that are usually only found further south.
Sherwood birds move east
Both Sherwood birds 134957 and 134955 have moved over 700km (470 miles) east from their locations in Burkina Faso in the last few days and are now in northern Nigeria. This leaves just Chester in Burkina Faso who becomes our most westerly bird by over 960km (595 miles).
A period of recovery
With most cuckoos now in the Sahel region, we're entering a fairly quiet period in the annual cycle of the tagged cuckoos with less movement than during the migration season.
Birds who completed their desert crossing will spend time in the Sahel recovering their body condition, and some may stay quite a long time. In previous years, cuckoos have stayed in this area for as much as several months, while others spend a shorter amount of time before moving south into the humid zone forests.
The eastern Sahel in Chad and south Sudan has received plenty of rain recently, and thus conditions are likely good for cuckoos. Northern Cameroon was slightly drier than average in August, and so cuckoos such as Derek, Dudley, Stanley, and Emsworthy may be moving on if foraging conditions aren't suitable.
134955 and Chester in Burkina Faso
Cuckoo 134955 has moved east from Mali and is now in Burkina Faso. He has been joined by Chester, who moved on quickly from his location in Mauritania. They are further west than many of the Cuckoos and, by taking the western route through Spain, have a longer journey to get to the Congo Rainforest than some of other Cuckoos but they will have been able to cross the desert at one of its narrowest points.
Chester in Algeria
Chester has made his move from Spain and travelled south over the sea to reach Africa. He has made his way through western Algeria and further poor quality signals indicate he has continued on into Mauritania.
Five opt for Spain so far
Skinner has left France and continued south to Spain where Meavy, Gilbert, Dudley and Chester are currently located. In previous years we have only seen East Anglian and Devon Cuckoos take this route but this year we also have Chester, one of the birds tagged in Sussex, Dudley, one of the Nottinghamshire birds and Gilbert, a New Forest bird, heading this way.
The three Cuckoos which took this route in 2012/13 all perished but in 2013/14 5 of the 6 birds which took this route successfully made it to their wintering grounds.
A break in France
Waller and Chester have remained in the same areas of France in which they first transmitted, close to Reims and Le Mans respectively, as has 134955 who is a little further south. Ash, meanwhile seems to be heading south despite being the latest of the four to arrive.
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