About the Author

James Tyrrell


James had hardly touched a camera when he came to Londolozi, but his writing skills that complemented his Honours degree in Zoology meant that he was quickly snapped up by the Londolozi blog team. An environment rich in photographers helped him develop the ...

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on Across the Sahara Desert in 24 Hours

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Definitely going to have a look at the website. I can’t wait for the migrants to arrive each year. Is it early for the Walbergs?

Unbelievable migratory pattern–thanks!

James, I love birds. Like you, I would love to follow the migration of the cuckoos. Please keep us posted.

So you are saying that the tracks shown in the map are simply the beginning of a greater cuckoo migration all the way to the Cape? Wow! Another amazing migration story!!! Thank you!

Hi Guys,
Interestingly enough, none of the cuckoos in this study seem to have made it all the way down to South Africa. It seems that the UK individuals only go as far as West and Central Africa. Maybe the ones tht make it to Londolozi start a bit closer, ie. southern Europe. I’ll dig around a bit and see what I can find…

Great article, James. Once again, I am thrilled with the diversity and range of your thought.

James, absolutely fascinating. I’ve read articles and watched documentaries on the migration patterns of other birds and it’s amazing how many survive their brutal journeys.

Good luck with following your cuckoos!!

The Cuckoo (common cuckoo), arrives at our farm in Co. Kerry, Ireland on April 25th. This is a give or take ETA, but he is remarkably consistent. Its lovely hear the first cuckoo on a fine spring morning, and its also lovely to hear the the silence when he’s gone. His favourite perch is just a few meters from our bedroom window and he rises at first light, around 4am. So we are happy to see him go by the 1st July (much earlier this year).
We still have reasonable numbers of cuckoo (I often see competing males), but yes they are declining. However, the decline is more notable amongst our earlier arrivals, the swallow (Barn Swallow), who normally and very consistently arrives two weeks before the cuckoo. This year there were no swallows in April, apart from one or two transients. Of the six or eight pairs that normally nest in our various outbuildings only two pairs eventually arrived, very late in May, and then they only raised one brood. Whereas we would normally see them until well into September, they are already departing for warmer climates. Look after them well down south, we need more numbers back next year!

I very much enjoyed your response and the information shared about the migratory birds in your country, Alan. Thanks!

Thanks Joanne, I did get one thing wrong. The cuckoo only stays with us for 6 weeks and is usually gone by early June (Not July). I have been writing about the swallow migration in Europe all summer and eventually have some response from Birdwatch Ireland. They believe that storms in Southern Europe during Spring have impacted this years migration, causing a drastic reduction in numbers reaching us.

Bird migration has always fascinated me and I am amazed at the tenacity these little creatures have. Jaw dropping trip across the Sahara!! Unbelievable!

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