Wednesday, 13 April 2016

The First Cuckoo Of Spring

A very quick post to say I heard our first Cuckoo on April 11th, one day earlier than last year. Have you heard any where you are? It used to be thought that Cuckoos turned into Sparrowhawks before hibernating in mud for the winter. Edward Jenner, who produced the first successful Smallbox vaccine, was one of the first people to postulate on migration to account for their absence over winter instead. 

Swallows have been seen a few miles from here too and we are tripping over Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps. Is it just me or is the migration getting earlier and earlier?

We're tripping over Hairy-Footed Flower Bees here at the moment too. They visit the Lithodora daily so if you don't have one I highly recommend it. HFFB's are small black bees with yellow knees (the girls) or stripy bees (the boys). They're about the size of my thumb nail and they hover in front of flowers taking nectar. They're a Spring bee and are out now so do check your flowers for them. 

The other first this week has been a male Orange-Tip whom I spotted yesterday in the garden. Would love to know if you've seen any yet where you are (if you're UK based, obvs!). And the Small White pupae I've been nursing all winter in the greenhouse have emerged this week too. It's all go here :o). 

In other news, the break from computers is having the desired effect and the book is coming on nicely. I've been out filming badgers most nights which is a complete delight, highlights have been watching two squabble over the same peanut. One bumped the other off it, only for the other one to get revenge by scent marking the bumper on the bottom!  I've also been watching the newts slip into their mating finery in the pond and yesterday discovered a freshly shedded dragonfly nymph case floating on the surface. 

Happy Days. 

T and P are well and send you all love. I hope you're all well too. 

CT :o)

41 comments:

  1. A cuckoo heard. Well how wonderful. I have seen NO butterflies but really I have not been out to look for them in the right places yet! Thanks for letter.

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    1. We're so lucky to have cuckoos here. I know they are disappearing fast. Glad letter arrived ok x

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  2. I haven't heard a cuckoo for a couple of years, sadly, but I listen out for them every year. First swallow on 9th, lots of bees (but don't know exact types...), brimstones, tortoiseshells, no orange-tips yet. So lovely to get an update on your wildlife sightings/hearings :-) x

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    1. Envious of your swallows, Sam. Apologies for not replying to your email sooner but thank you for it xx

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  3. I hope you are keeping well, we had a strange bird come in the garden a few days now, and it flew off quick when it saw me, I have just looked for pictures of Cuckoo's and I am 99% sure that is what I saw, first I thought because of the markings Sparrowhawk x

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    1. They often get mistaken for Sparrowhawks for just that reason. Lucky you to have one in the garden- how wonderful. I see them fly over here but yet to find one perching x

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  4. Oh I do miss hearing a cuckoo among other things.

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  5. It is quite a few years since we had a cuckoo in our vicinity, so lucky you.

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    1. They've gone from many areas in the last 20 years.

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  6. Send them up this way please CT, I only heard the one last year on me home patch :-( Still we had our first Swallows today :-)

    Hope you are keeping well and my kindest regards :-)

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    1. When more arrive I'll have a quiet word with them, David ;-). I've got eyes and ears peeled for swallows and white throats at the mo! All well here thank you, hope all well with you?

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  7. Great news, thanks for letting us know. x

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    1. It's always exciting to hear the first cuckoo of the year xx

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  8. I haven't heard a cuckoo on the common next to my allotment yet, but he was quite late last year I seem to remember and sadly the one who used to call in the woods at the top of the field by my house hasn't been heard for a couple of years now. I've been seeing brimstones in the garden regularly and I too saw the case of a dragonfly nymph floating on the pond today and the newts are very active, especially when the sun is shining. And there is so much blackbird activity. I will let you know when/if I hear the cuckoo and the nightingale. Good to hear that all is well with you.

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    1. So sad about your local cuckoo. It's a story widely repeated in the uk these days. I treasure each time i hear ours these days for just that reason now. Do let me know when you hear one and the nightingales too x

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  9. Hey CT,
    Not heard a cuckoo. But I may have seen the bees, although my id of bees isn't always correct. No orange tip either, but lots of Black caps in the garden (which is a first for me). A very sad sight this morning was two badgers that had been run over on the back road. They were only feet apart, and one looked bigger than the other.
    So glad the book writing is coming along. I received your letter - thank you. I did a little dance when I opened it - and am in the process of writing one to you.
    Leanne xx

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    1. Fab about your blackcaps! If you get a good look at the bee next time you'll be able to tell- the females are very distinctive. How sad about the badgers. I hate seeing them on the roads like that xx

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  10. Lovely to see you back albeit briefly. No cuckoo here but there are a pair of buzzards nesting close by. There have been several fat bumble bees & a large butterfly flew past me on Monday. To large & dark to be an orange tip but exciting to see all the same. I'm glad your tech break is working for you xx

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    1. Fantastic about the buzzards, Jo :-). I've seen a fair few butterflies already and the moths are getting interesting too :-). Hope all's well my dear xx

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  11. Hairy foots are very fast moving and aggressive too, if you get in the way of their pollen collection, they sort of face off your knees, angrily jagging about at you. Damn hard to photograph!

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    1. That's interesting, Si. I wonder if it's regional behaviour or competition for scarce food resources? I've not experienced that with our HFFBs.

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  12. I heard one yesterday morning but it was very brief. We usually have a very persistent one that used to drive L crazy when she was trying to revise, but I love the sound. Great badger story. xx

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    1. How exciting! I know how L feels - they used to drive me mad too, until I realised how few are left xx

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  13. I haven't heard a cuckoo this year, although I rarely do, and the biggest boy says they're not around at Slimbridge yet. Saw a couple of brimstone butterflies at the allotment almost two weeks ago on a balmy day. I love the sound of a hairy-footed flower bee, I shall look out for one just so that I can drop it into a conversation. There have been swallows, house martins and sand martins around for a week or so. Glad your writing is coming on well. CJ xx

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    1. Excellent about the martins and swallows, I've yet to see any here. Great about the flutters too. Brimstones are doing well here this year so far. Violets are out on the lane too I noticed yesterday. Fingers crossed for the slimbridge cuckoos. I see from the BTO that Ospreys are already back in Scotland. They fly over us sometimes but I've yet to see one. X

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    2. Ooh, just found out, a cuckoo was heard at Slimbridge yesterday (13th). An osprey flew past on the 7th April, heading up the Severn estuary. One was seen at a lake fairly near here last week as well. We didn't see either of them, but heard tell of it all. Great news that they've arrived in Scotland. I read Gill Lewis's book "Sky Hawk" to the boys last year, it's all about ospreys, they loved it. Reading them Moon Bear also by GL at the moment. She writes excellent stories, she really does. CJ xx

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    3. Excellent news about the Slimbridge Cuckoo. Ours was cuckooing like made before the rain came this morning. They've also arrived down the road in the New Forest. Loved the Osprey news too, I've been imagining him/ her following the Severn :o) xx

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  14. How lovely to hear cuckoos! There were three birds my dad missed when he left England ... the cuckoo, curlew & nightingale ... and all for their songs :) Nice to hear that spring life is bubbling over in your area! Hugs to T & P.
    Wendy

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    1. I would miss them too. Nightingales are rare here now and although we hear curlews on the coast I believe they are also dropping numbers-wise. Hope all's well with you x

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  15. Can't help with your sighting but it is going crazy here in Tucson.
    But for us with another mild winter and not enough rain i think everything is growing and babies are everywhere getting ready for fire season.
    Happy to hear your doing fine. I had a major set back so I am playing catch -up again.

    cheers, parsnip and thehamish xx

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  16. Gosh there is a lot more going on down at your house, feel like we have stood still here, spring flowers but much slower on the birds and the bees.
    Old man says thanks as he is feeling much better, not up to long walks as it makes his bones ache..
    Amanda xx

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    1. That's the temperature/ climate difference between North and South in action I guess :o). So pleased Old Man is feeling better. Poppy did a pop in the sitting room yesterday and left muddy paw prints on two envelopes... XX

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  17. Whoop whoop...a lovely post from you with such interesting news. Cuckoos and badgers and all things nice. Glad break is having desired result.
    All good here in Oz..will write you a letter soon or it may come via email (busy busy at the moment!).
    Keep writing and keep blogging from time to time.
    xxxxx

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    1. I have just this morning posted a letter to you, which has been sitting on the side most of this week ;o). Builders in doing kitchen so mayhem has ensued. Hope all well. All good here xx

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  18. I so look forward to receiving it! I will reply as soon as! X

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  19. It really is such a busy time of year isn't it. I haven't yet heard any cuckoo's but that's not to say I juat haven't heard them.
    Glad you are enjoying the spring!

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  20. We went on a dawn chorus walk on Thursday and someone there mentioned they had heard a cuckoo in Somerset the day before. We spotted our first swallow last weekend. I didn't realise that the males arrive before the females. I do envy you watching the badgers that is something I have always wanted to do. Sarah x

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  21. No cuckoos - we used to hear them regularly years ago, but they are rare beasts in our part of Carmarthenshire now. However, we have had a Blue in the garden, and an Orange Tip.

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Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x