BTO satellite-tracked Cuckoo Chris is now the southernmost of all of the tagged birds. Chris, along with many of the other Cuckoos, spent some time in southern Chad — he had remained in the same area since 6th September but has now headed 398km (246 miles) due south. He is migrating along a very similar path to last year but, so far, has not stopped at the same locations. This was also the case in Europe, although he then crossed the desert on a more westerly path, possibly having been affected by the prevailing wind at the time.
Chris is currently approximately 600km (373 miles) due north of the location on the border between Congo and DRC at which he spent most of last winter, and appears to be heading straight for that area. We look forward to seeing whether he does indeed end up at the same spot.
It's not such good news for some of the other Cuckoos. There have been no transmissions from Lyster since 8th August and nothing from Mungo since 2nd August, nor has there been any news from John following his odd move back northwest across the Pyrenees, nor from Reacher who was last recorded in Spain in an area recently effected by wildfire. Temperature readings from the tags suggest that these birds may have perished.
BTO-tracked Cuckoos in Africa (Data: BTO/map © Google).
There are just two tagged Cuckoos now remaining in Europe: Lloyd and Wallace. Transmissions show that there has been little movement on Lloyd's part; however, weak signals appear so show that Wallace has moved from Italy to the Balkan region — will he be the third British Cuckoo to be tracked taking this eastern route?
In Africa, two Cuckoos — David and Roy — have made clear southeasterly movements from Chad into southern Sudan. We had expected them to move southwest towards the area of southern Chad that several of the other Cuckoos are either in or passed through on their way to the wintering area in the western Congo basin last winter. It will be really fascinating to see where they go next — will these two birds head to completely different wintering grounds to last year's birds?
You can keep track of all the latest Cuckoo movements on the BTO Cuckoo pages.