Our concern for Vigilamus seems to have been proved right. We haven't heard from his tag since he arrived back on the North York Moors in Arctic conditions. At the time the outside temperature reached minus 5, not good for a bird that spends most of the time in the tropics. It is a sad end for a bird that has given us so much information. We'd like to thank all of his sponsors and the staff at RAF Fylingdales who helped with his tagging.
A poor quality location recieved from Vigilamus's tag on 23 April showed that he had made it back to Britain and was in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire. However, it seems that he didn't stay there long. A very poor location from his tag on 25 April, so poor that it won't show on the map, suggests that he has moved north and is in fact back on the North York Moors. We are concerned about him as there have been several heavy snow showers on the moors with lying snow for short periods of time. The battery charge on his tag is good and we should have received more good quality locations from the tag, but haven't. We have our fingers crossed that he hasn't succumbed to the cold, only time will tell.
Vigilamus is our third Cuckoo to return to England. We haven't received a good signal from his tag yet so his map hasn't updated - but it should in the next day or so.
During the early part of last week, Vigilamus left Spain and crossed the Pyrenees into France, eventually stopping just south of Bordeaux on 11 April. He only stayed here for just over a day, and on 13 April was 300km (189 miles) southeast of Bordaeux and back on the northern edge of the Pyrenees. He crossed into Spain once again during the late evening of the same day and settled briefly on the southern edge of the Mountains just south of Andorra. He is currently still south of the mountains close the large lake called Embalse del Grado. The weather in southwest France last week was appalling, so presumably he headed back to where he knew he could find food.
A location received from Vigilamus's tag during the morning of 30 March showed that he had left Ghana and crossed into Ivory Coast. He didn't hang around, two days later a series of locations showed that he had crossed the Sahara in one non-stop 3,117km (1,937 miles) flight, and was in Algeria on the northern edge of the desert just south of the town of Sidi Boutouchent.
As if that wasn't enough, two days later a couple of poor quality locations showed that he had crossed the Mediterranean and was in western Spain, in the Sierra Del Toro mountains, 515km (320 miles) north west of his last location in Algeria, and he didn't stop here. By the morning of 4 April he had moved another 208km (129 miles) north and was in a wooded area just south of Castejon de Valdejasa, his current location. This is the earliest that one of our tagged Cuckoos has crossed the Sahara, since the project began in 2011.
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