AFRICA here we come – Dartmoor’s Cuckoos are on their way!


A poor quality signal on 28 June indicated that the last Devon tagged Cuckoo still in the UK was also on his way. Dart was transmitting during his crossing of the English Channel and further signals on 30 June and 1 July showed him travelling down through Central France and Southern France almost following a parallel line to Whortle’s migration south. A good location on 3 July placed him just over 30 km (20 miles) north-west of Montpellier, having covered around 930km (580 miles) since leaving his Devon location.


The evening of 22 June showed Ryder as just west of Holne. The next signal, early in the morning of 25 June showed he had arrived on the coast of Brittany and Lower Normandy, about 30km (19 miles) east of Saint-Malo and 50km (30 miles) north of Rennes, after completing a distance of 270km (169 miles) including crossing the English Channel at one of its widest points.  

He currently appears to be feeding up a few miles NW of Toulouse.


At a similar time as Ryder transmitted from France, in the early hours of 25 June, Tor also revealed his new location!  Although on a similar longitude, he was over 340km (200 miles) further to the east in the region of Lorraine.  He is just 30km (19 miles) south-west of the border with Germany.  Since the last position received in England he has covered around 770km (475 miles).


On 26 June Whortle decided to move, having been in Devon in the late evening, just 48 hours later he had travelled 1030km ( 640 miles) to the south-east of France, transmitting his location from there on the evening of 28 June. He appeared to be in hilly landscape in the region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur. Further signals received on evening of 1st July show that he continued onwards a further 206km (128 miles) close to the Italian border, in the extreme south-east corner of France, to the east of Tende in the Mercantour National Park within the Maritime Alps.  Whortle ventured in to the Po Valley in Italy in the early morning of 4 July, travelling 85km (53 miles) in a north-easterly direction from his location in the corner of France. A series of transmissions showed him moving around the area near Piampaludo but two days later returned to his previous location in France. He may have been unable to find sufficient food and therefore returned to the last good feeding site.

Whortle has now been in the area of the southern French Alps for several days and is 5km (3.5 miles) north-west of Meailles. He is only 24km (14 miles) west of David (one of the 2012 Welsh Cuckoos). These two birds were only 9.5km (6 miles) apart at their brief stopover point in northern Italy. It will be interesting to see where they both go from here.