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Updates from our Cuckoos

Read the latest updates from our Cuckoos on their migration.

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.

Tennyson still in Nigeria

21 Aug 2019
Tennyson seems settled near Gwardena in Adamawa State in north eastern Nigeria, where he has been since 28 July. 

Five across the desert

14 Aug 2019
So far this year, five Cuckoos have made it successfully across the desert. Carlton II, PJ, Senan, Tennyson and Valentine are all south of the Sahara and still sending regular tag transmissions. They still have a little further to go south before reaching their final wintering destinations.  

Tennyson in Nigeria

13 Aug 2019
Tennyson moved into the Adamawa region in northeast Nigeria at the end of July and recent signals show he has remained in the area since. 

Tennyson crosses into Cameroon

26 Jul 2019
Tennyson clocked in at 03:06 this morning (Friday July 26) with an update showing he has flown 270 km (168 miles) south east from his last location in Nigeria over the border into Cameroon. He is now in the North Province of Cameroon, and is just north of Faro National Park. 

Tennyson is the first to cross the desert!

22 Jul 2019
In our last update we reported that Thetford Cuckoo Tennyson had made it as far as Northern Niger, having flown 2,496 km (1,550 miles) from his previous stop-over site in northern Spain. A transmission received from Tennyson's tag at 07:44 on Friday July 19 confirmed that he had become the first of our tagged Cuckoo to successfully cross the Sahara in 2019. He passed east of the Air Mountains in Niger and landed in northern Nigeria. After stopping first close to Kano, the state capital of Kano State in northern Nigeria, he has since flown 256 km (159 miles) south east and is in north-eastern Nigeria, on the border between the states of Bauchi and Taraba. 1,432 km (890 miles) now separates Tennyson from Valentine, the other Cuckoo that has crossed the desert. Both of these Cuckoos were tagged in Thetford Forest this year. 

Tennyson is crossing the desert!

18 Jul 2019
During the evening of Sunday July 14 Tennyson was near Perpignan in southern France and by 19:00 that evening he had crossed into northern Spain, and was 85 km (53 miles) north west of Barcelona. The next time we heard from Tennyson was at 08:00 on Wednesday July 17, when he was crossing the Sahara, having covered 1,920 km (1,193 miles) from Spain to the Tassili-N-Ajjer Desert portion of the Sahara in south-central Algeria.  The last signal received from Tennyson's tag arrived at 20:17 last night (July 17) showing that he had made it as far as Northern Niger, having flown 2,496 km (1,550 miles) in just over 72 hours, at an average speed of 34.6 kpH (21.5 mph). When we next hear from Tennyson we will hopefully see that he has become the first of our tagged Cuckoos to successfully conquer the Sahara in 2019! 

Meet the 2019 Cuckoos

25 Jun 2019

We’re delighted to introduce some new faces to the project! Catching the birds has been challenging this year with seemingly less competition for females and so less interest in the female lure used, but thanks to the persistence of our super tagging team, we do have four new male Cuckoos to introduce to you.

Three of these newly-tagged birds are already on the way, crossing the Channel and moving into France within the last few days. Take a look at the individual blogs to find out more.

Tennyson in central France

25 Jun 2019

The first male to be tagged this year, in mid-may, Tennyson was happily transmitting from the Mundford area, not far from his tagging site at Cranwich Heath until the 18 June. However, signals received on the evening of the 24 June show that he had begun his journey, travelling  765km (475 miles) to reach central France. He is currently 30km (19 miles) to the west of Limoges, north of the commune of  Oradour-sur-Vayres and within the area of the Périgord-Limousin Regional Nature Park.


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