Posted by: Andrew Skelton | 15/05/2011

No no no no no no no

Didn’t the sun (the celestial orb, not the newspaper) read my blog yesterday? I don’t remember inviting the clouds along either, they obviously were interested in my camera gear as they decided they’re come down lower for a closer look. And as for Mr Rain, at no point during my blog was there any mention that he had to make an appearance today.

If you get the feeling I’m a little frustrated by today’s weather conditions, you’re right. What with some magnificent bullfinch visiting at unearthly hours of the evening (in photographic terms) and a number of interesting subjects present today, it’s been more than a little frustrating.. it’s been.. erm… very frustrating.

Right, now I’ve vented my spleen, back to the photography… but I’m warning you weather, I hope you’re taking notice this time. I want a nice sunny day tomorrow or else there’s going to be trouble, I’ll be sending letters home to all your, parents.. so you have been warned.

Today’s wildlife, however, had read my blog and whilst there weren’t birds or animals posing in front of me, asking which was their best side and whether their markings made their bum look big, there were some nice spots, the most notable of which were sandmartins, common terns, a male cuckoo and a bloody-nosed beetle (language Timothy).

For those who haven’t seen a cuckoo in flight, they’re very distinctive. First impressions are of a medium sized hawk, such as a Kestrel, with a sickle wings and long straight tail. The real give away, apart from it actually calling whilst on the wing, is the way it flaps it’s wings – instead of the effortless way a falcon flies, the cuckoo looks like it has realised birds technically should not be able to stay in the air and is flapping it’s wings desperately to try and keep airborn. It actually looks quite comical to watch, and certainly helps with identification.

One trick I have used for years with these birds is to play on their terratorial nature, by mimicing their call. Before my voice had broken I could reach it’s falsetto tones quite easily, these days it’s much easier to just whistle, in a similar timber and syncopation. Next time you hear a cuckoo, try it, but you’d better check you’re not a warbler, pipit or a dunnock or you might find you get a larger house sitter than you were expecting.


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