Did you hear BBC Security Correspondent Frank Gardner talking about Cuckoos on BBC Radio 4 this morning? He is a keen birdwatcher and was invited on after sharing an image on social media of a Cuckoo newly-arrived in Surrey. The number of people reporting Cuckoos through BirdTrack is also now increasing so the early birds are just getting to the UK and the main arrival will happen over the next 3-4 weeks. With this in mind, it is encouraging to see that 7 of our tagged birds have now successfully crossed the Sahara Desert and are well on their way back.
An update received from Thetford Cuckoo Thomas’ tag at 08:45 this morning showed that he has successfully completed his crossing of the desert and is in northern Morocco. He is now just 17 Km (10.5 miles) south east of Tangier, close to the Barrage Ibn Battouta reservoir. Over the last few days he has flown 3,350 Km (2,081 miles) from Ivory Coast, via Algeria to his current location in Morocco. He is now well placed to leapfrog Selborne who is just 345 Km (214 miles) north of him, in southern Spain.
Also making tracks is Sussex Cuckoo Knepp. An update received from Knepp at 22:42 last night showed that he had also successfully crossed the Sahara and was on the outskirts of Ain Bni Mathar, a town in eastern Morocco, close to the border with Algeria. On the 10th April he was in Ivory Coast and since then he has covered 2,880 Km (1,790 miles) to reach his new location. How long will he stay before proceeding north?
Sherwood Forest Cuckoo Robinson clearly decided he wanted a bit more of a challenge so he crossed the desert diagonally from Ivory Coast to Tunisia, covering around 3,770 Km (2,343, miles) in the process! By early yesterday morning Robinson was near the town of Kasra in northern Tunisia, approximately 162 Km (100 miles) from the north coast.
It looks as if Suffolk Cuckoo Victor has pressed on from his last location near the Algerian oasis town of Mansourah and is now 305 Km (190 miles) north, in northern Algeria. We should receive another update from Victor today that will tell us if he has continued his journey north.
New Forest Cuckoo Bowie has made it across the desert too and is just 26 km (16 miles) from the coast in northern Algeria, between the towns of Ain Benian and Hammam Righa. 52 Km (32 miles) south west of him is Lancashire Cuckoo Larry.
It looks as if Suffolk Cuckoo PJ may be the next bird to cross the Sahara. By 17:34 last night, he had traveled 538 Km (335 miles) north and reached southern Mali. The next update from PJ may well show him either on his way across the desert or on the other side.
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Email Ieuan Evans if you’d like to discuss making a larger donation to the project.
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