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Updates from our Cuckoos

Read the latest updates from our Cuckoos on their migration.

Tennyson and Senan likely to be lost to us

26 May 2020

We've previously reported that Senan's tag battery has been low for a while and not charging properly. After a long period of silence, we were pleased to receive the locations from Algeria, and later from Spain, to show he was migrating. However, with no further signals since the 5 May, it looks like we may finally have lost contact with him. Similarly, Tennyson's battery has also experienced charging issues and we had hoped we would receive signals at some point during his northward movements, when the solar panel was exposed to longer periods of sunshine. However, we've not heard from his tag since early April. In both these cases it appears we have lost the tag signal rather than the bird and we hope both these Cuckoos return to the UK safely - even if it's unlikely we'll be able to update you. Do keep your eyes peeled if you are on the Norfolk/Suffolk border though!

Senan in Spain

04 May 2020
A series of new updates received from Senan's tag over the weekend show that he has crossed the Mediterranean, flying 610 km (380 miles) north from Algeria to Spain. He is now in the province of Cuenca, Castile-La Mancha, in eastern central Spain. As we have reported before, we think Senan's tag may stop transmitting any day so we are delighted to receive another update and will be keeping our fingers crossed that he will check in again over the next few days. 

Senan in Algeria

24 Apr 2020
We've had several more updates from Senan now, all showing him in the Tlemcen province of north-western Algeria, close to the border with Morocco. He is currently approximately 10 km (6.25 miles) south west of the town of Sidi Djillali.

Senan checks in before checking out?

20 Apr 2020
After many weeks of radio silence we finally received an update from Senan's tag on Friday 16th April, showing him approaching the foot of Italy. However further updates since show him in Egypt, Tunisia and, most recently, north-western Algeria. All but one of the signals have been of low quality and, despite all of the solar charging it will have received during the desert crossing, the tag's battery is very low on charge. Unfortunately this means that although Senan is likely to be migrating as expected, his tag is giving up the ghost and we are on the verge of losing contact with him. We will of course continue to monitor the data closely and will update you if we do receive any further transmissions from Senan's tag. 

No news from Senan

16 Mar 2020
We haven't received any further updates from Senan since 20th Feb when he was in Congo, close to the border with Gabon. Hopefully we will hear from Senan when he starts to move north again.

Senan in Congo

21 Feb 2020
A good quality location from Senan's tag during the morning of 20 February showed that he is in Congo, very close to the border with Gabon. It could be that he didn't spend very long in northern Gabon and that he has been in northern Congo for the last month or so, an area where other tagged Cuckoos have spent the midwinter period.

Senan in Gabon?

07 Jan 2020

We were surprised when Senan hadn't moved on in the latter part of 2019 however, the area he was in within Benin had received extra rainfall in the previous three months, and was likely to be greener than normal for the time of year.  Other Cuckoos were also later moving from West Africa into the forest zone this autumn, presumably for this possible reason. A new poor quality location received in late December indicates Senan could now be in northern Gabon, in or close to the Minkébé National Park. This would be a logical position for him. The battery on the tag is low, and has been for some time, but hopefully we will receive further signals which will confirm this, so that it becomes visible on the maps shortly. 

Senan moves on

07 Nov 2019
Senan had been in Burkina Faso since 21 August but signals on the 5 November show he was ready for change of scenery. He left the location he has spent the last 13 weeks in and travelled 350km (220 miles) south-east to Benin. He is currently on the southern edge of the Wari Maro Forest Reserve. 

A challenging autumn migration

04 Sep 2019

The last few weeks have been quiet and for those who had not yet completed their desert crossings, it looks like the challenging conditions have claimed more of our tagged Cuckoos.

Unfortunately no further signals have been received from Knepp. From the temperature data and movements at the time, he was alive on 12 July, when we last heard from his tag. Though the battery charge had been low for a few days, there is no evidence of long term battery decline so we can't be sure what has happened to him - either he, or the tag, appear to have died suddenly. 

Lambert, who was still in France, has not moved on south and signals on 21 August showed high temperature fluctuations across the day, indicating the bird's body temperature and behaviour were not regulating it. We've heard nothing since then, and his tags battery charge had suddenly dipped, all of which leads us to believe he has likely died.

Unfortunately the challenging conditions have also impacted on Nussey who has already attempted two trips to Africa and retreated to Europe.  Abnormally low temperatures were received at the time of the last messages (16 August), having previously been fine. He was not migrating at that time, so the low temperatures were not due to high altitude, and the battery was also much lower than previously, further suggesting he was dead.

The droughts and exceptionally high temperatures in Europe appear to have proved difficult for our Cuckoos this year, however the five south of the Sahara are still regularly transmitting. Valentine, PJ, Carlton II and Tennysons' tags have all sent signals during September and the last signals received from Senan's tag were at the end of August and show him still in Burkina Faso.

Senan in Burkina Faso

21 Aug 2019
Senan only stopped in Niger for a couple of days before flying another 256 km (160 miles) south west, across the border into Burkina Faso. He is now in the far south of Burkina Faso, close to the borders with Togo and Ghana, 205 km (127 miles) south east of the capital Ouagadougou. Another Cuckoo, Valentine, is also in Burkina Faso but is 465 km (289 miles) west of Senan. 

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