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!
Updates from our Cuckoos
Read the latest updates from our Cuckoos on their migration.
Tennyson and Senan likely to be lost to us
Senan in Spain
Senan in Algeria
Senan checks in before checking out?
No news from Senan
Senan in Congo
Senan in Gabon?
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
A challenging autumn migration
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
Upland bird recording and monitoring (1-day, Dalmellington, Ayr)
Brush up on your upland bird identification by songs and calls. Learn more about opportunities for participation, and practice techniques for BirdTrack and the Breeding Bird Survey (BBS). Find out about the BBS ‘Upland...
Short-eared Owl Tracking
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