Flappy, the satellite-tagged Common Cuckoo sponsored by the Oriental Bird Club has been making astonishing progress on her autumn migration and is currently in northern India, having crossed several international borders on her migration south.
Since the last update here on 15th July she crossed the Mongolian desert, arriving in Hebei Province, southwest of Beijing, on 1st August, where she stayed for a few weeks. Next stop ruled out Southeast Asia as a wintering destination, as she travelled an incredible 2,400 km southwest into Myanmar, arriving there on 1st September.
Not for long, however, and speculations that she may stay in Myanmar were soon overturned, as only two days later her transmitter was picked up by satellites showing her to be in India, just north of the border with Bangladesh, in the state of Meghalaya. Pushing on in a west/northwesterly direction for 800 km, by 5th September Flappy had passed through the northernmost part of Bangladesh and arrived 120 km southwest of Kathmandu on the India/Nepal border.
Birding Beijing received an email from an excited follower at the Wildlife Institute of India, who noted that Flappy's route is similar to that taken by Amur Falcons, and speculating she may fly across India and migrate to Southern Africa taken an oceanic crossing like the Amurs.
Flappy has since carried on travelling northwest into Nepal and skirted the foothills of the Himalayas.
On the latest update she appeared to have changed tack from the consistent bearing of 290 degrees she had followed for the 1,700 km since Myanmar, and on 12th September was 200 km east of Delhi in Uttar Pradesh.
Birding Beijing also reports that "Cuihu Urban Wetland Park in Beijing, the location where Flappy was tagged, is planning to erect an information board about cuckoos for the general public. It will include what we know about the life-cycle and migration and, all being well, will include a map showing the migration route of Flappy."
The Beijing Cuckoo Project aims to engage Chinese audiences about the wonders of bird migration with a view to promoting conservation and helping to strengthen the links between Chinese and international bird conservation organisations.
The main scientific goal will be to discover the presently unknown migration route and winter quarters for Common Cuckoos breeding in East Asia.
The Beijing Cuckoo Project is a collaboration between the Beijing Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre (BWRRC), China Birdwatching Society (CBS), the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) and Birding Beijing.
Alongside OBC, other supporters of the project are the Zoological Society of London and the British Birds Charitable Foundation.