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Updates from our Cuckoos

Read the latest updates from our Cuckoos on their migration.

Martin left behind in Spain

30 Apr 2012

We have received no further data from Martin since 9th April, and sadly must now assume that he is dead.

Martin made it as far as Lorca in southern Spain, where we last heard from him. In that last transmission his tag temperature dropped from a normal 30-32 degrees Centigrade to 11.7, a gradual change over the course of a night. While fearing for the worst, we did hope that he might pop up further north. We are now convinced that this is very unlikely, and must announce Martin's demise.

Martin has bequeathed a wealth of knowledge that has improved our understanding of Cuckoo migration. Of our original band of five, Martin was the first to return to Europe. As the only Cuckoo over two years old, he was looking good to be the first bird to return. He may have fallen victim to some severe weather conditions, which the other birds avoided by crossing the Mediterranean a little later.

Still no news...

24 Apr 2012

Despite being the first of our Cuckoos to safely cross the Sahara and the Mediterranean, we have received no further data from Martin since 6th April. There has been some bad weather across the Mediterranean in recent days, proving a challenge for all migratory birds, but we are increasingly concerned. 

Nothing new from Martin

16 Apr 2012

Martin was the first of our Cuckoos to return to Europe, but we have not received a signal from him since his last movement in Spain on 6 April. The weather may have had something to do with him staying put for a few days with thunderstorms, hail and strong northerly winds.

No news from Martin

12 Apr 2012

There was no signal from Martin yesterday (11 April) and we shall be concerned if there is nothing in the transmission period that starts tomorrow. As far as we know he is still in Lorca.

Martin near Lorca, Spain

10 Apr 2012

Martin made it as far as Lorca in southern Spain, where we last heard from him. At about 2200 his tag temperature dropped from a normal 30-32 degrees Centigrade to 11.7. This is not necessarily a bad thing as tag temperature drops to these levels when birds are migrating at altitude. However it was not a step change and was a gradual change over the course of a night. Due to transmit tonight (10 April), hopefully we'll pick him up somewhere further north.

Thanks to Helen who sent in this picture of her local area in Lorca in which Martin last transmitted from.  She reported that the it's 'open hilly area with mostly (almond and olive) trees and some small groups of pine trees here and there. The weather has been very cloudy for days with rain and even hail until April 5. On April 6 and 7 there was a strong wind from the north west'.

No news today

09 Apr 2012

No news from Easter Sunday - Martin missed a scheduled transmission and we have not heard from Lyster since 1 April.

Martin reaches Europe!

06 Apr 2012

Locations received last night showed that Martin had crossed over from Algeria into Spain. At 0325hrs he was situated in a well-wooded landscape about 18km (11 miles) west of Lorca in Murcia region. Although we can’t tell exactly where he crossed the Mediterranean, he appears to have taken a very similar route to that taken by Clement on his southward passage last July. This makes Martin the first of the Cuckoos to make it into Europe - will he be the first to reach Britain?

Sahara crossing complete!

04 Apr 2012

Martin has successfully completed his desert crossing – by the evening of 3 April he was settled in woodland high in the Atlas Mountains of the Sidi-bel-Abbes region of Algeria. He is presumably taking a well-earned rest and undertaking a period of recuperation before heading north to Britain.

Fascinatingly, he is 37km (22 miles) south of the location that Clement stopped at before crossing the desert in a southwards direction, having crossed the Mediteranean from Cabo de Gata in southern Spain to the Algerian coast near Oran. We are excited to see whether he will re-trace Clement’s steps in reverse, thus taking a direct route back to Britain and forming a loop in his migration route.

Martin's mammoth move!

02 Apr 2012

Having received no locations for Martin since 18 March, we suspected we were witnessing the now-familiar pattern of a tag failing to charge for some time prior to the bird’s departure and were anticipating it bursting into life when he moved on.

During the afternoon of 1 April, we duly received a series of poorly-resolved locations that, taken together, showed that Martin was making his northwards desert crossing. During the several hours of transmissions as he moved from Mali into Algeria, he was moving over the earth’s surface at average speeds in excess of 100km (62 mph) per hour!

It is notable that Martin is the only one of our tagged Cuckoo who is more than two years old; as older birds are generally expected to arrive back before younger birds.

Sadly, the transmission period finished before he had completed his desert crossing and we won't receive further signals for a couple of days but we can't wait to see what he does next!

No movement from Martin

27 Mar 2012

We haven't received any further transmissions since the 18 March for Martin.  The weather there is currently warm and wet with thunderstorms forecast for tonight and more rain and cloud tomorrow. The weather is forecast to change at the end of the week. Could the onset of sunshine and light winds from the south provide ideal conditions for his next move?


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