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Updates from our Cuckoos

Read the latest updates from our Cuckoos on their migration.

The end of the road for Ripple

25 Nov 2022
We are sad to report that we have heard the last from Worcestershire Cuckoo Ripple. Having survived his unexpectedly long stop in the Sahara, we were very optimistic that he would succeed in making it to his wintering grounds. But alas it wasn't to be and it appears that he has died in eastern Nigeria. He has given us a very valuable series of data showing his journey from Worcestershire via West Africa to Nigeria which will add to our growing knowledge of the challenges our Cuckoos face. 

Ripple reaches Nigeria

19 Oct 2022
Over the last few weeks Ripple has departed Burkina Faso and moved briefly into Niger before flying over Benin and into Nigeria. He is now in the far east of Nigeria with the latest update this morning showing him on a heading for Gashaka-Gumti National Park, Nigeria's largest National Park and one of Africa's "Important Bird Areas". This is the first year we have tracked Ripple so it'll be very interesting to see where his wintering grounds are. 

Ripple moves east in Burkina Faso

27 Sep 2022

We are pleased to report that Ripple seems to be doing fine, despite his long stop off in the middle of the Sahara. Since our last update he has been making good progress east from west Africa towards the Congo Basin. Having flown from southern Mauritania to south west Mali he has now pushed further east into eastern Burkina Faso. He is now in the far eastern corner of Burkina Faso, just north of Arli National Park.

Ripple moves east to Burkina Faso

21 Sep 2022
Ripple is making good progress east from west Africa towards the Congo Basin. Having flown from southern Mauritania to south west Mali he has now pushed further east into eastern Burkina Faso. He is currently 24km (15 miles) north of the city of Fada Ngourma in eastern Burkina Faso. 

Ripple moves east into Mali

15 Sep 2022
After a couple of weeks close to the Senegal River in southern Mauritania, Ripple has taken flight again. New updates received earlier today show that he has flown 723km (450 miles) south east into south western Mali. He is now 143km (89 miles) north-north east of the Malian capital of Bamako. 

Ripple's roller coaster ride

30 Aug 2022

By the morning of the 21st August, Ripple was well on his way across the Sahara and was just south of the Mauritanian town of Atar, on the Adrar Plateau in the Sahara Desert. Here however, Ripple's journey ground to a halt and as several days passed with no onwards movements, we began to worry about him. Our experience is that Cuckoos don't normally stop for long in the desert and doing so is usually a bad sign. Could this stop be an ominous sign for Ripple?

By zooming in closely to the map we could see some evidence of water and greenery in the general area that Ripple was in. We contacted a birdwatcher, David Monticelli, who had visited this area a few years ago, to ask him about conditions on the ground. He told us that "this is a rather desert and montane region but with oases; the latter could be really green areas where we found loads of Palearctic migrant (birds) and other local specialities". He was also kind enough to pass on the contact details of a Dutch birdwatcher (Justus Buma) who runs a hotel in Atar. We contacted him and he told us that "we had three years without rain in the adrar, nearing a catastrophe. But finally in June (2022)...rain started to fall, resulting in the first complete filling and overflowing of a new dam 15 km sw of Atar, flooding over 50 kms. That is why I presume the  thirsty and exhausted Cuckoo found a paradise to resource himself". Priceless intelligence from sources who know the local area that gave us considerable reassurance that Ripple may well have been surviving in the middle of the Sahara!

Then on 27 August, having stopped in this area for a whole week, we received the signal we were desperately hoping for - an update from Ripple's tag showing that he had flown approximately 440km south to complete his desert crossing! Further updates have confirmed that Ripple is now on the banks of the Senegal River in southern Mauritania.  

This has been a fascinating journey, including the longest desert stop we have seen from any of our tagged birds. Hopefully Ripple is none the worse for his stop-over and will continue on his journey to the Congo Basin.

Ripple is crossing the Sahara

20 Aug 2022
Updates received between 09:00 and 12:30 today show that Ripple has pressed on from his last location in northern Morocco and is attempting to cross the Sahara. He has so far flown 1,080km (670 miles) and is close to the border between north west Mauritania and Western Sahara. The winds in this area are very light at the moment so hopefully he will continue to make good progress south. 

Ripple reaches Africa

18 Aug 2022
Since our last update Ripple has flown 1,017km (632 miles) south through Spain and across the Gulf of Cadiz. By 7am this morning he was in northern Morocco, approximately 20km (12 miles) south east of the city of Settat. We know that this western route south is more perilous for our Cuckoos and has already claimed the life of JD. We'll be keeping everything crossed for Ripple over the next few days. 

Ripple moves south in Spain

16 Aug 2022
Ripple has flown 100km south from his last location in and by the early hours of this morning was approximately 7km (4.3 miles) south east of the town of Puebla de Sanabria in the province of Zamora in the autonomous community of Castilla y León. Is this the start of Ripple's big flight south to Africa? Stay tuned to find out!

Ripple visits north west Spain

27 Jul 2022
Having crossed into northern Spain, Ripple stopped first near the village of Buenavista de Valdavia in the province of Palencia, Castile and León. Since then he has flown 167km (104 miles) further west into the Sierra de Ancares mountain range where he is currently close to Pico Miravalles, a mountain of approximately 1,900m. 


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