Four more Cuckoos have made it to Africa with the latest arrivals being Larry, Coo, Derek and Peckham who have joined Vigilamus, Hennah, Dudley and Stanley.
We now think Viator’s failure to complete the desert crossing is linked to conditions in the area of the Po Valley in Italy, which normally provides a good refuelling stop before the journey to Africa and over the desert. This year, however, the Po watershed and surrounding areas used by our Cuckoos on their migration are experiencing severe drought. Both Viator and Ash left the Po area and headed further east to Croatia which is unusual and likely down to the poor conditions in Italy. However, it’s extremely likely that the part of Croatia, just across the Adriatic (55 miles from the Po Delta) is also suffering from this regional drought. We fear that Ash, and also Cookie, whose tag last transmitted from the Po area, have both been affected by these conditions and it’s unlikely that we will receive further signals.
Previously we’ve only ever lost two southeasterly migrating birds before completion of the Sahara crossing, both in 2012 when very wet conditions were experienced in the UK. So far it looks like we’ve lost three this year, probably linked to the cold wet spring in the UK combined with very dry conditions further south.
We hope that Ash will appear soon, and if not, we hope he enjoys his holiday in Croatia and found his true love!