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Named after the late John Tully who was a long-standing BTO Member, Regional Organiser (Avon), Chair of our Regional Network Committee and superb ornithologist.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012 - 01:00
Tagging Location:
Aldeby, Norfolk, England
Age when found:
Satellite Tag No.:
Wing Length (mm):

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John's journey from 09 May 2012 to 07 August 2012

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John's movements

06 Sep 2012 - No news may be bad news

No further signals have been received for John or Reacher since their last locations in France and Spain respectively. Taking a look back at the temperature data,  the last few messages received for each tag show a lot of variety associated with time of day - i.e. cooler in the early morning and reaching over 30°C in the afternoon. Temperatures prior to that had always been higher than 30°C, even when the Cuckoos were in Britain. This suggests that the bird’s body temperature wasn't influencing the tag's temperature much during these signals and does, unfortunately, support the idea that they may have perished.

The wildfires that have spread through Spain have been caused by chronic drought. While the wildfires themselves are unlikely to have effected these Cuckoos directly, the drought will have made Iberia far less suitable for fattening Cuckoos. 
John behaved very oddly once he got to north-eastern Spain and even made an oblique re-crossing of the Pyrenees, and Reacher disappeared in exactly the area where the recent fires have been reported. Lyster took a similar route, passing through Catalonia (one of the areas where fires have been reported) during late July and stopping off in what appeared to be an area of irrigated farmland rather than the montane forests he used last year. Perhaps he failed to deposit enough fuel for the desert crossing at this sub-optimal stopover location? . 

15 Aug 2012 - Little movement from John, Reacher and Chris

We haven’t received any further signals from Reacher since the unconfirmed locations on 26 July placing him near Malaga. Meanwhile, John has remained in France, but has moved slightly north-east of his last position. He is now close to the town of Garein. Chris continues to transmit from the area north of Lake Chad.

06 Aug 2012 - John moves north

John has actually moved northwards 60km (40 miles) from the Bayonne area and is between Castets and Rion-des-landes. He appears to have been moving around this area, perhaps trying to find some areas with plenty of food to help him fatten up before the next leg of the journey?

30 Jul 2012 - No big movements from English Cuckoos

We have seen little movement in recent days from the Cuckoos tagged in England, with Lyster remaining in Catalonia, John still near Bayonne, Reacher still in Andalucia (although unconfirmed locations suggest he has moved to the south coast, just east of Malaga) and Chris just north of Lake Chad.

26 Jul 2012 - John heads back to France

John has continued his migration in idiosyncratic style! Having been just southwest of the Jura last Friday (20 July), by Sunday 22 July he was in Catalonia, so becoming the fourth of our tracked Cuckoos (after Clement, Lyster and Reacher) to take a south-westerly route into Spain. His tag transmitted for longer than the planned ‘ON’ period so we were able to follow what happened next - and that evening he moved off west, ending up 120km (75 miles) WNW of here, on wooded slopes in the Pyrenees close to the French border, by the next morning. As if this wasn’t strange enough, locations received on Wednesday 25 July showed he had continued along this trajectory, had crossed the Pyrenees completely and was just inside Landes region of southern France, a few kms ENE of Bayonne.

This movement appears very unusual, both because of the 90 degree change in direction to NW and because he has re-crossed an apparent barrier (the Pyrenees) at an oblique angle. There doesn’t appear to have been any unusual weather etc in the area when he arrived in Catalonia so it’s not clear why John has behaved like this. Where will he go next?

Past updates from John

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