Updates from our Cuckoos
The end of the road for Ripple
Ripple reaches Nigeria
Ripple moves east in Burkina Faso
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
Ripple moves east into Mali
Ripple's roller coaster ride
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
Ripple reaches Africa
Ripple moves south in Spain
Ripple visits north west Spain
Waterbird ID training (2 sessions, Wednesdays 7pm)
This course involves two weekly online sessions of about 1 hour 45 minutes, with a trainer:participant ratio of about 1:30. Participants' microphones are muted during the sessions but there is a large interactive...