Patch hadn't moved on northwards from his location in Spain like the other Cuckoos so our scientists took a look at the signals received recently. While we have been receiving signals, a closer look revealed that they were all lower quality signals, indicating that the tag may be on the ground. In addition the temperature associated with each transmission is now fluctuating with the external temperature, rather than remaining steadily at body temperature - as you would expect if the tag was still attached to a live Cuckoo. Together these two bits of information seem to suggest that we have lost Patch in Spain and he will sadly not be returning to his tagging ground in Scotland.
Patch was still in Senegal on 16 April but by the evening of the late afternoon of 17 April he was in Morocco in the southern region of Oued Ed-Dahab-Lagouira, part of the Western Sahara. From this westerly point, he changed direction and headed a further 1000km in a north-easterly direction (620 miles), flying over western Algeria by midday on 18 April and then heading north, towards the Middle Atlas mountains, and back in to Morocco by the morning of 19 April.
There must have been little time to rest as by morning on 21 April he was already 780km (485 miles) further north, having crossed the Mediteranean Sea to reach Valencia, Spain. In the five days since leaving Senegal, he covered at least 3440km (2140 miles)!
Patch is also on the move and embarking on his desert crossing, with the most recent signals revealing he has made it to eastern Senegal. David is also in Senegal but is much further west than Patch, and they are both much further west than any of the other Cuckoos.
From Ghana, Patch continued onwards and by the evening of 31 March he was in Guinea, 1100km (690 miles) further north-west. He is just to the west of the outer edge of the Guinea Highlands, a densely forested mountainous plateau which runs from southeastern Guinea through to northern Sierra Leone and Liberia, and northwestern Ivory Coast.
This new location means that he is in running for the most westerly Cuckoo, however, poor quality signals suggest that David continued on from Mali and could be in either Sierra Leone or Guinea, and possibly further west than Patch. We will have to await further signals to confirm his location.
Poor quality signals, received on 27 March, from Patch's tag revealed that he had left Cameroon and was on the move. Those signals located him in Togo and two days later further signals confirmed he had continued on in a westerly direction and was in Ghana. He is just west of Lake Volta, a place where several of our Cuckoos have stopped having moved into west Africa.
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