Sunday, 11 March 2012

The Cuckoos are coming.

Cuckoo. Copyright Edmund Fellowes.

The 'Red Listed' Cuckoo is one of the UK's fastest declining migrants and also one of the least known about birds once they leave the UK. 

It was fascinating to see different routes taken by the five satellite tracked Cuckoos on their migration back to wintering grounds in Africa last summer, in fact one bird chose to cross the North Sea to the Netherlands, two went off in a south easterly direction to Belgium, whilst the other two went south across the English Channel and into France. One bird Clement - who I sponsored - went on to prove that some cuckoos migrate by day and night and in fact on one occasion he moved 210 miles in the extreme heat of the desert. 

Now, having successfully spent their winter in Africa all eyes will be on the moves these birds now make with regards to their spring migration back to the UK. From the latest readings of 8 March from the tags on these five Cuckoos, three have made their first moves and are now in West Africa having flown west to reach Ghana. This provides new information and evidence that as previously thought Cuckoos don't always leave for North Africa or Europe via the long flight  direct from their wintering locations. So interest mounts about where these birds prepare for their spring desert crossing, and hopefully to seeing what determines how many Cuckoos make it back to Britain each spring, and why they arrive early or late.

Here's another bird we can only hope makes it back to the UK in good numbers this year....

Whinchat Marc Heath 

The Whinchat is an 'Amber Listed' bird according to the RSPB and BTO available statistics, lets hope many will return to this country to successfully breed. I'm looking forward very much to being able to visit several location where this brilliant little 'chat' can be found, one of which may well produce reasonably high numbers for this species again ts summer.

If you followed the Cuckoo story since last summer you'll know all about the above....if you didn't the story so far plus a complete up-date can be found HERE 


Rohrerbot said...

Fascinating. That would be an excellent study....I like that you can track the migration of birds. I wonder why they head in such diverse directions, but to figure that out a lot data needs to be collected. From Ghana to France....that's quite a change!

Pete Woodruff said...

Don't forget to use the link to the Cuckoos in my sidebar to keep yourself up to date on this fascinating project 'Rohrerbot'.

Warren Baker said...

I'm on the case Pete, it will be nervy watch to see who makes it back safely out of them all!

Pete Woodruff said...

Fascinating and intriguing stuff Warren....Watching with much interest.