Male Cuckoo in flight (c) 2010 Maurice Gordon
Male Cuckoo at rest
Drake Mallard (c) 2010 Maurice Gordon
For the second day running a close encounter with a Cuckoo was a major highlight of both sessions. Last week at this location the Cuckoo called fairly briefly in the morning, and then appeared to be completely absent in the afternoon, but today he performed well all day, and even indulged in some ‘gowking’. He seemed to be patrolling the canal in a vain search for an available female, but as far as it was possible to tell in this regard, he didn’t have any luck. The Cuckoo was a ‘lifer’ for some present, but for most of the rest of today’s participants it was the best view of a Cuckoo they had ever enjoyed. We were able to observe it at rest, waggling its tail from side to side with drooping wings, and calling for minutes on end, but also it flew past several times – its long tail, drooping pointed wings, and grey colouration giving the impression of a bird of prey. Between the squally showers there was some warm sheltered moments, and in these we managed to see a few Blue-tailed Damselflies, Green-veined Whites, Speckled Woods, dozens of St Mark’s Flies, and at least 5 Orange-Tips. Today was our 2nd visit to our local quiet canal. The birds were pretty similar as last week, but the Reed & Sedge Warblers were less prominent as they presumably kept out of the worst of the cutting Northerly winds. However, we did manage to obtain good views of both of these species. In the morning we saw 38 species, and a couple were added in the afternoon bringing the tally to 40. Carol marked the pm session 10 out of 10 as soon as the Cuckoo appeared, so goodness knows what the close views of Sedge Warbler, reed Warbler and Linnets did to the final score!