Patch hadn't moved on northwards from his location in Spain like the other Cuckoos so our scientists took a look at the signals received recently. While we have been receiving signals, a closer look revealed that they were all lower quality signals, indicating that the tag may be on the ground. In addition the temperature associated with each transmission is now fluctuating with the external temperature, rather than remaining steadily at body temperature - as you would expect if the tag was still attached to a live Cuckoo. Together these two bits of information seem to suggest that we have lost Patch in Spain and he will sadly not be returning to his tagging ground in Scotland.
Updates from our Cuckoos
Read the latest updates from our Cuckoos on their migration.
Patchy signals suggest the worst
Patch crosses desert and makes it to Spain
Patch was still in Senegal on 16 April but by the evening of the late afternoon of 17 April he was in Morocco in the southern region of Oued Ed-Dahab-Lagouira, part of the Western Sahara. From this westerly point, he changed direction and headed a further 1000km in a north-easterly direction (620 miles), flying over western Algeria by midday on 18 April and then heading north, towards the Middle Atlas mountains, and back in to Morocco by the morning of 19 April.
There must have been little time to rest as by morning on 21 April he was already 780km (485 miles) further north, having crossed the Mediteranean Sea to reach Valencia, Spain. In the five days since leaving Senegal, he covered at least 3440km (2140 miles)!
Patch in Senegal
Patch is also on the move and embarking on his desert crossing, with the most recent signals revealing he has made it to eastern Senegal. David is also in Senegal but is much further west than Patch, and they are both much further west than any of the other Cuckoos.
Patch continues to Guinea
From Ghana, Patch continued onwards and by the evening of 31 March he was in Guinea, 1100km (690 miles) further north-west. He is just to the west of the outer edge of the Guinea Highlands, a densely forested mountainous plateau which runs from southeastern Guinea through to northern Sierra Leone and Liberia, and northwestern Ivory Coast.
This new location means that he is in running for the most westerly Cuckoo, however, poor quality signals suggest that David continued on from Mali and could be in either Sierra Leone or Guinea, and possibly further west than Patch. We will have to await further signals to confirm his location.
Patch travels to Ghana
Poor quality signals, received on 27 March, from Patch's tag revealed that he had left Cameroon and was on the move. Those signals located him in Togo and two days later further signals confirmed he had continued on in a westerly direction and was in Ghana. He is just west of Lake Volta, a place where several of our Cuckoos have stopped having moved into west Africa.
Patch close to BB
By 15 March, Patch had travelled 435km (270 miles) further north within Cameroon. This new location means that he is now only 20km (12 miles) from fellow tagged Cuckoo, BB. David is also relatively close, just 80km (50 miles) further south from Patch’s location.
Patch in Cameroon
Patch has also moved out of Congo, leaving his position near the two national parks, and is currently in south-east Cameroon, 260km (160 miles) further north, close to the edge of the Boumba Bek National Park.
Patch moves north into Congo
Patch has left his position close to Ken within Gabon and since the 4 Feb has travelled 310km (190 miles). This has taken him over the border and into Congo. He is in the area between two National Parks and is roughly 50 miles (80km) further north than both Whortle and Derek.
Patch in Gabon
Having left his last location in Congo, Patch travelled in a south-westerly direction, crossing over the border with Gabon on the 18 January. Transmissions received on the 25 January indicate he has remained int his location.
Patch moves further north
After his initial movement of 75km north-west of Lake Mai on 26 December, Patch has continued moving. He travelled a further 304km (189 miles) and as of 09.15 on 14 January, he was in the southern part of the Congo rainforest, just 11km (7 miles) from a fellow Scottish Cuckoo, BB.
Scottish Birdwatchers' Conference
Every year the Scottish Ornithologist's Club arrange a one-day Scottish Birdwatchers’ Conference, organised by a local branch of the SOC, in conjunction with BTO Scotland.
Bird ID (Residential, Berry Head, Devon)
Develop your bird identification skills on this weekend course for relative beginners and improvers. Expect a combination of indoor sessions covering the basics of bird identification and outdoor sessions to build your...