Sunday, June 5, 2011

Redstarts and Cuckoos


When we walked down the Derwent valley yesterday, from Blanchland down towards the reservoir, the hedgerow seemed to be alive with redstarts ..............


... with females outnumbering cock birds.....


This valley, with its hay meadows that provide plenty of insects and mature old trees with nest holes seems to be excellent redstart habitat.


It also seems to be favoured territory for cuckoos. We've heard a male calling on three successive visits over the last couple of weeks and even had this distant view of him. Given their relative scarcity, I'm guessing it might have been the same bird on each occasion, although there's no way of knowing.

The area down towards the reservoir, where there has been a lot of tree felling and where there's rough grassland that provides good meadow pipit habitat, must provide plenty of nests to parasitise ........ provided that he's found a mate.

12 comments:

  1. Lucky man, I haven't heard a Cuckoo for years. The Redstarts are lovely birds.

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  2. How exciting to see a real-life cuckoo! (I've only ever seen them in old clocks.) Your pictures of the male and female redstarts are beautiful, and should serve as great reference photos.

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  3. How lucky to have so few cuckoos! The Indian cuckoo, the Koel, is making our lives miserable here, as this is their mating season. They start their loud morning wake up call at 3.30 a.m. if you please, and continue till 5.30, when the other birds take up the strain:(

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  4. Great pictures, birds are so hard for me to capture...

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  5. Two super birds to see, Phil. Lovely pictures too as both can be flitty or elusive.

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  6. Redstarts are such lovely birds. As for cuckoos, I hear them regularly, but seldom see them.

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  7. I've heard quite a few this spring, Toffeeapple, but this is the first I've seen..

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  8. Hi Kate, redstarts do seem to be very approachable birds...

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  9. Hi lotusleaf, there's a bird called a corncrake in scotland that's similarly notorious for keeping people awake at night

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  10. Hi Masha, I rely a lot on luck....

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  11. Hi Emma, I was hoping to get a bit closer to the cuckoo but it was too wary..

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  12. Cuckoos do seem to be very skilled at hiding in the foliage of pask trees, don't they swanscot?

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