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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.

Valentine moves north in Burkina Faso

21 Aug 2019
In the last couple of days Valentine has flown 74 km (46 miles) north west from his last location towards the border with Mali. He is now close to the city of Solenzo in the far west of Burkina Faso.

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.  

Valentine moves to south-west Burkina Faso

29 Jul 2019
Over the last few days Valentine has flown 322 km (200 miles) south west into south-western Burkina Faso. He is now in the Hauts-Bassins region, 55 km (34 miles) north-east of the region capital, Bobo Dioulasso. 

Valentine has crossed the desert

22 Jul 2019
Since our last update Valentine has become the second of our tagged Cuckoos to successfully cross the Sahara. From his location in Morocco he has flown south east into Algeria and then due south over Mali to Burkina Faso. He is currently in the Rollo Department, a commune of Bam Province in north-western Burkina Faso. He is 125 km (78 miles) north of the capital Ouagadougou. 

Valentine arrives in Morocco

18 Jul 2019
An update from Valentine at 19:40 last night (Wednesday July 17) showed that he had completed his crossing of the Mediterranean and was in the High Atlas mountains in central Morocco. By 22:57 last night he had flown 737 km (458 miles) from his last stop over site in southern Spain and was near Iriqui National Park, in the Atlas mountains close to the border with Algeria. Interestingly he was just 4.8 km (3 miles) from the spot where Nottingham Cuckoo Bill perished in April 2017 (Bill's tag is still transmitting).  It'll be interesting to see whether Valentine pushes on across the desert from here. 

Valentine heading for Africa?

16 Jul 2019
By the morning of July 13 Valentine had crossed the Pyrenees and was in northern Spain 19 km (11 miles) east of Barbastro. By 7 pm on July 15 he had flown a further 610 km (379 miles) south and was just north of Benahadux in Andalucia, Spain. The last signal received from Valentine came in at 10 pm last night when he appeared to be 65 km (40 miles) out over the Mediterranean on a heading for the Cape of Three Forks in northern Morocco. We'll have to await the next data transmission to see whether Valentine will become the second of our Cuckoos to reach Africa this year. 

Valentine heads south

12 Jul 2019
Over the last 48 hours Valentine has flown 456km (284 miles) south west to his new location near Marmande in south-western France. 

Valentine south of Paris

03 Jul 2019
Valentine completed his crossing of the English Channel and was 50km (30 miles) south of Paris by the evening of 25 June, 340km (210 miles) from his last location near Canterbury.  Since then he’s been roving around the area between Blandy and Maisse. 

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.

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