Cuckoo’s Return

Welcome back

What better way to wake up on a Sunday morning than to the sound of the first cuckoo? Pulling back the curtains, I looked out over the flattened streaks of bracken above the house, studded with naked willows and rowans. The ground seemed to be sweating, creating palls of mild, vaporous mist which wandered aimlessly with the breeze. There had been some rain during the night, and the burn was broadcasting a rich, musical gurgle as the oystercatchers bickered quietly down on the hayfield.

In an ash tree about sixty yards from the house, a familiar shape was bending the stubby twigs and swelling with concentrated effort. At close range, the “cu-koo” has a hollow, percussive edge, like “bwit-woo”, and it brought back the precise atmosphere of last spring – the transient, muggy showers, bringing a cool humidity to the buzz and hum of returning life; the perspiring moss wheezing beneath the walking lambs, and all the while that relentless pulse of sound ringing through the scrub and out over the white grass.

The first cuckoo of 2012 arrived on precisely the same day last year, and over the past four years, they have always turned up at some stage during the third week in April. Over the next few days there will be more and more cuckoos arriving – it’s one thing that Galloway does very well. Just by blowing through my hands, I’ve had five cuckoos at a time flying around me up on the Chayne, and although they are in serious decline elsewhere, it seems like they’ve got a real affection for the place. Long may it last…

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One thought on “Cuckoo’s Return

  1. Like the Ring Ouzel, Angus also has a reasonable population of Cuckoo. Always a joy to see this bird being mobbed by the likes of its main victim on moorland – the Meadow Pipit.

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