A series of poor quality locations from Ash during early July showed that he was moving around in Croatia but we have heard nothing since. The tag data showed that he was alive when we last heard from it so it’s possible that his tag has failed.
The Po watershed and surrounding areas used by our Cuckoos on their migration are experiencing severe drought this year and we think this may be why Viator failed to successfully complete the desert crossing. We fear that Cookie and Ash have also been affected as it's been so long since we heard from their tags and we suspect we won't receive further signals.
Both Viator and Ash left the Po area and headed further east to Croatia, which is unusual, and could have been because of poor conditions. However, it's extremely likely that the part of Croatia, just over the Adriatic (55 miles form the Po delta), is also suffering from this regional drought.
Previously we've only ever lost two southeasterly migrating birds before completion of the Sahara crossing, both in 2012, and so far it looks like we've lost three this year.
Ash has headed south out of Slovenia and is currently in Croatia west of Zagore.
From Italy, Ash has headed north-east 295km (180 miles) and ticked a new country for our tagged Cuckoos, by stopping in Slovenia. Over the years some of our Cuckoos have gone as far east as this, visiting Slovakia, Austira and and Montenegro, but normally they have come down through Germany rather than through Italy. It will be interesting to see where he heads next!
By the evening of the 22 June Ash had travelled 280km (175 miles) north-east within Italy to a location close to Bologna.
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