03/04/2012
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Martin heads for home

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Great news! The first of the BTO's Cuckoos is heading for home. He was tracked crossing the Sahara during Sunday 1st April. Martin is one of four British Cuckoos that are being tracked by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO). Having spent three weeks in Ivory Coast, he is now heading north on his spring migration. During the afternoon of 1st April, we received a series of transmissions that showed that Martin was making his desert crossing. During the several hours of transmissions, as he moved from Mali into Algeria, he was moving over the earth's surface at average speeds in excess of 100km (62 miles) per hour!

It is notable that Martin is the only one of our tagged Cuckoo who is more than two years old. Older birds are generally expected to arrive back before younger birds. Sadly, the transmission period finished before Martin had completed his desert crossing and we won't receive further signals until today (3rd April). We can't wait to see what he does next!


Martin: the journey so far. (BTO, map ©Google).

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We would expect Lyster, Chris and Kasper to move north shortly but have no idea which route each will take. See Martin's Blog and chart Martin's progress online.

Ten months in the life of Martin:

  • 19th May 2011 — ringed at Great Yarmouth in in Norfolk.
  • Late May and June — spent time in the same part of Norfolk and the Winterton area, chasing female Cuckoos.
  • 30th June — arrived in Auvergne (France) and quickly moved on to Milan (Italy).
  • July — spent three weeks in Italy, leaving on 21st July.
  • July 2011 to March 2012 — Martin's African tour took in the countries of Chad, Nigeria, Central African Republic, Congo, Ghana and Ivory Coast.
  • 1st April — crossed the Sahara and headed back towards Europe and (hopefully) Norfolk.
Written by: BTO