Friday, 4 May 2012

Cuckoo Lyster on BBC breakfast

Any early birds will be able to see some amazing footage of Lyster, filmed shortly after his return to the UK, on BBC One's Breakfast show tomorrow morning (Sat 6th May).

Everyone involved in this project was filled with a sense of wonder, amazement and elation as news broke that Lyster was the first Cuckoo to complete the epic 10,000 mile round trip, returning to a location just 5 miles from his tagging site. Phil Atkinson and Paul Stancliffe of the BTO rushed to the Norfolk Broads in the hope of catching a glimpse of our returning hero, undaunted by the odds against finding one Cuckoo in miles of marsh and farm land. As you will see in the BBC's footage, luck was certainly shining on Phil and Paul, even if the sun wasn't!

Check out the BTO website tomorrow for the full, behind the scenes, story of how we managed to film amazing footage of Lyster within hours of his return to the UK.

It's not such happy news for Martin, though. We have received no further data from him since 9th April, and sadly must now assume that he is dead.

Martin made it as far as Lorca in southern Spain, where we last heard from him. In that last transmission his tag temperature dropped from a normal 30-32 °C to 11.7 °C, a gradual change over the course of a night. While fearing for the worst, we did hope that he might pop up further north. We are now convinced that this is very unlikely, and must announce Martin's demise.

Martin has bequeathed a wealth of knowledge that has improved our understanding of Cuckoo migration. Of our original band of five, Martin was the first to return to Europe. As the only Cuckoo over two years old, he was looking good to be the first bird to return. He may have fallen victim to some severe weather conditions, which the other birds avoided by crossing the Mediterranean a little later.


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