May 17, 2011

Cuckoos calling

After days of rain things dried a wee bit to day. There was word of a Cuckoo at Happy valley so I steamed off for a look. A walk round happy valley filled in time as I could hear a bird calling way down the Stenness end of the valley. With no bird getting close it was time for plan b, I moved off up the valley towards Russadale to a friends house where I could get a cup of coffee and wait in comfort. Refreshed I moved out of the house and down a gully that leads to the lovely scrub covered valley. I hadn’t been there for long but heard two wrens, three willow warblers and three sedge warblers calling away. Add to this the abundance of meadow pipits and you soon see why the cuckoos are drawn to this place. Sure enough a cuckoo appeared on a fence post about a hundred yards away. I scoped it up and took a few photos but it was fairly distant. Form time to time it was mobbed by small birds but it showed no sign of moving as it assessed its options of where to lay. As it was so stationary I moved out of the cover of the gully and decided to chance approaching closer in the hope of getting a better shot. I slunk across the fence and in to the field keeping the bird in sight but avoiding eye contact. I got as close as I dared and snapped a couple more. At this point another cuckoo started calling. Not to be out done a third bird chimed in from some where way up the hill. That was three birds in the same area at the same time. All to soon tho the cuckoo in sight rose to the air with the arrival of a family of raven on the scene. The cuckoo circled before heading in the direction of Happy valley with a second one appearing in hot pursuit. Quite chuffed I moved off as well. Three birds was a first and a male and females was another first as all I have seen up to this point are females.

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