Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Looking For Cuckoos

I don't often conduct trips on Sundays, but this Sunday was one of those. We started off at car park on the top of a 'hill' where it was actually warm for the 1st visit this year. There was a very noisy Whitethroat next to the car park, which we were able to see clearly as we waited for everyone to arrive. There were also a pair of Pied Wagtails in the car park, and a Meadow Pipit nearby in the long grass.
Cuckoo (c) 2013 Pauline Berriman

 Whitethroat (c) 2013 Pauline Berriman
 Whitethroat (c) 2013 Andy Leonard
We walked up to the next 'hill', and at the summit there was very little to see apart from a Robin feeding its partner, and a female Chaffinch pretending she was a flycatcher. 
The Path of Brian was very quiet, with just Reed Warblers grumbling from deep within the reedbed, and a silent Meadow Pipit perched on a teasel. A journey up into the old tip area resulted in a single Red-legged Partridge, and a Reed Bunting.
Meadow Pipit (c) 2013 Andy Leonard
 Willow Warbler (c) 2013 Pauline Berriman
 Willow Warbler (c) 2013 Paulien Berriman
The climb up the next 'hill' resulted in another Whitethroat and a Willow Warbler. A Great crested Grebe and a pair of Tufted Ducks were at the back of the lake and the female Heron was still hunkered down on her nest. A Bullfinch called mournfully nearby, but we couldn't see it. A Reed Warbler countered from a nearby reedbed, but it couldn't be seen.
Orange-Tip (c) 2013 Andy Leonard
 Orange-Tip (c) 2013 Andy Leonard
 Speckled Wood (c) 2013 Andy Leonard
 Coot (c) 2013 Pauline Berriman
 Rudd (c) 2013 Andy Leonard
 Mute Swans (c) 2013 Pauline Berriman

 The railway line really turned up trumps. First we had one male Cuckoo, but this soon went missing for a while. Later, it returned, but there was a second male around and they had a few spats as they dive-bombed each other. They kept us entertained for over half an hour. They were the first proper views of Cuckoos most of the participants had actually seen. We had a few flybys, but they were quite swift and neither photographer was able to get a photo when they were really close. It is possible that 2 brown doves seen briefly near the drain bank were Turtle Doves, but the view was so fleeting I couldn't be 100% certain. There was certainly no purring in the excellent weather conditions. The lack of Turtle Dove song is a worrying trend also noted on our last visit, and I just hope that they haven't abandoned the site.
 Cuckoo (c) 2013 Andy Leonard
 Cuckoo (c) 2013 Pauline Berriman
Cuckoo Being Mobbed (c) 2013 Pauline Berriman
Cuckoo Heading For Cover (c) 2013 Pauline Berriman

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