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Thursday, 18 April 2019

Going Cuckoo Over a Cuckoo

A major highlight this evening during a dog walk along Cownhayne Lane between Colyford and Colyton - Cuckoo

Yes we get them every spring, but only two or three in most years, and they often stay only for something between two minutes and an hour before completely disappearing.  And they are almost always heard and not seen.  I however have never been in the right place at the right time. Not once. In 17 years of birding the Axe Estuary I haven't heard a Cuckoo call, which is even sadder when you hear how common they used to be here. The only Cuckoos I've seen on patch have been in late summer/autumn, with my last patch Cuckoo in August 2013. So hearing just one blast of Cuckoo call this evening made my day, and I sent a message out to alert others.

Twenty minutes later it called a few times again, but closer. This warranted another message out because this meant it was lingering so had the potential to be twitched. Phil soon arrived and it soon called again much to both our delights.  It was close too, really close, so we wandered a short way down the lane and gazed up into some big trees in a garden where we thought the calls originated from. There was no sign after ten minutes of searching, so when it suddenly started calling again somewhere right in front of us we were speechless! 

HOW!? WHERE!??


We then spent half an hour looking into these few trees, from every angle we could find, but despite the fact it would occasionally burst out in song could we find it!?  Could we heck!!  We were going Cuckoo ourselves, and laughing about it because this was just crazy - Cuckoos aren't usually this elusive!

Then finally - although not before the sun had gone down and moon risen high in the sky (it was now 20:30) - I caught sight of some fine barring high in a dense patch of leafage. There it was sat almost motionless...

Gotcha!

A spring patch Cuckoo... well most of one anyway!
  

Am presuming it was pretty tired after a long flight in, but still had just enough energy to burst out the occasional bout of song.  I'm glad it did because no way would it have been found otherwise!

Oh I do love spring, and this has made mine that's for sure.


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