Thursday 29 June 2017

Silent Cuckoos

Lade - muggy, misty, drizzle - 0600hrs - The garden MV was stuffed full of 32 species of macro moths this morning. Seven were new for the year including July Highflyer, Knot Grass and Dusky Sallow, while Buff-tip hit double figures for the first time.

                                   Dusky Sallow

                                July Highflyer

                                Eyed Hawk-moth

  Once the B&B guests had departed we gave the local patch a good grilling in dreary, but windless, weather conditions. Mockmill was alive with Sedge Warblers and Common Whitethroats feeding young, plus a pair of Stonechats with their second brood. Linnets seem to be down in number this year in contrast to Reed Buntings that appear to be abundant.
  South lake was alive with activity; mostly Coots and grebes with juveniles, plus post-breeding flocks of Pochard, Mallard, Gadwall and Mute Swan making up the bulk numbers. Common Terns have been a feature this week with up to 20 noisily fishing nosily over the waters, some of which are birds that have probably dispersed from Dengemarsh.

                               Common Terns, Lade

  On the scrub-clad shingle ridges Starlings and House Sparrows were everywhere in great flocks plundering the masses of invertebrates, so it was no surprise when a Sparrowhawk came in low and took one unsuspecting sparrow with great aplomb. Even the local Kestrels got in on the act.
  Its been several days now since I`ve heard a Cuckoo and I suspect the males at least have departed for southern climes having already done their job, although one or two females may still be present, finishing off egg-laying in Reed Warbler or Dunnock nests. Cuckoos arrived early this year, yet been on site for barely two months, how quickly the breeding season passes. Hopefully, their parasitic offspring will survive to follow the adults `down south` and to return again next spring.
  An afternoon tour of the bird reserve turned up little of note apart from a party of 50 Swifts heading south over ARC.


  1. Yesterday (Thurs) morning, we still had a male Cuckoo travelling up and down the reed beds calling, as he has done for a couple of months.

  2. It has been a good year for Cuckoos down here, they`re such watchable birds, and always missed when they depart.

  3. Whereabouts was this Derek? Please may I have some very detailed directions of where to go from the car park at shellness.

  4. James, walk about a mile westwards along the sea wall to the Sea Wall hide. If the cuckoo is still calling you will hear it and hopefully see it, from there.