MOTUS-tagged Song Thrush detected at Spurn!

Song Thrush #36921

Song Thrush #36921 was tagged on 8th October 2021 as part of a MOTUS project based on Helgoland in Germany, following a decent fall of birds onto the island the previous day. It left the island that evening around midnight, with a light south-easterly breeze. Song Thrush #36921 was then picked up by four different MOTUS stations in The Netherlands, traveling c.136km between midnight and c.03:50 in a south-westerly direction at around 22mph. It was only detected for five minutes at the last station just north of Grongien - presumably still migrating.

It was next detected nine days and 73km later to the south-west, on the Dutch coast near Den Helder, north of Amsterdam. This was after dark at around 18:45 on 18th October, and was only detected for 13 minutes so our bird was clearly on the move again. Song Thrush #36921 was then amazingly detected by two other nearby MOTUS stations that evening, the last one being on the coast around 19:00 and was apparently heading in a more north-westerly direction. There was a steady 14mph south-south-westerly breeze blowing as the bird set off that evening across the North Sea.

Song Thrush #36921 then reached Spurn and was picked up by our MOTUS tower at around 03:50 on 19th October for just one minute and 56 seconds - presumably just moving through without dropping in at Spurn, as the tower receiver picks up tags within a radius covering the whole recording area.

This presents us with unprecedented levels of information about the migration of these birds, thanks to the amazing power of the MOTUS system. This bird had a crosswind of up to 21mph south-westerlies throughout its journey over the North Sea and yet still just kept migrating when it hit the coast at Spurn - incredible! On 19th October there was a small arrival at Spurn with 17 Ring Ouzels, 390 Redwings and a humble four Song Thrush logged that day, presumably most of these diurnally-observed birds had taken a similar route to the MOTUS-tagged Song Thrush?

A map showing the route taken by Song Thrush #36921 from Helgoland to Spurn, you can view it here.

You can see more details on the other tagged Song Thrushes from Helgoland here and see some of the amazing data that is being gathered - particularly from migrant passerines in Germany and the Netherlands. We hope as the MOTUS system continues to grow in the UK and Europe that we will be able to expand our knowledge on the migratory routes of these birds.

To learn more about MOTUS check out their website here: which features a map showing all station locations and a list of all tagged birds which have being detected there, by simply clicking on them.

If you or your local ringing/ornithological group are interested in getting involved with the UK MOTUS project then please get in touch - the amazing thing about the MOTUS system is that individuals can conduct their own projects within the system whilst also helping to contribute to other projects. It just takes one MOTUS tower to get started and to see how long a tagged bird lingers in an area, which direction they depart in and so much more. The contact email is info 'at'

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Posted: 21 December 2021

MOTUS-tagged Song Thrush detected at Spurn!