Cuckoo 161322's incredible journey

20 Jul 2016

During the late evening on 13 July, locations received from Cuckoo 161322 showed that he had left Italy and was heading out across the Mediterranean. As the night and early morning of the next day unfolded it became clear that he had embarked on an incredible journey. At 10.30pm he was 15km (9 miles) from the French coast close to the Illes de Hyeres and heading south.

The next location we received was at 7.30am on the morning of the 15 July. At this time he was over the sea, 45km (28 miles) north of Algiers and the North African coast. An hour later he was 65km (40 miles) to the west and flying parallel to the coast, albeit 30 miles out. At 8.40am he had turned north and was heading back out into the Mediterranean sea, only to turn west again and head in the direction of mainland Spain. By 10.30am he was midway between Algiers on the North African coast and Guardamar del Segura, near Murcia on the Spanish coast. He maintained this course and by noon was 54km (33 miles) from the Spanish coast.

He made landfall at 3.30pm just north of Guardamar del Segura but this isn't the end of this incredible journey. On the 18 June he had headed north and was just west of Madrid at a stopover site that several of our tagged Cuckoos have used in the past. It seems that this was where he intended to fly to when he left the French coast, but had possibly drifted off course. As soon as he could he corrected this and eventually made it there three days later, presumably much lighter than when he set off.