Monday, 13 August 2012

12th August, Canal and moor, cuckoo delight!!

A bit of a late start for our walk today as domestic duties took priority, our garden hedges were in serious need of a trim. Dunnocks nesting and producing two broods has meant leaving the hedges very strictly alone, any disturbance can mean parents flying away and then neglecting the nest afterwards.

One of the real delights of my concentration on wildlife has been an in increasing knowledge of what I am likely to see in particular areas of my local walks, today that paid off big time. We made our way to Low Wood first, really gloomy light made photography nigh on impossible and we had to content ourselves with some nice sightings through our binoculars, wren, robin and wood warbler were all in evidence.

The light by the canal was a little better in the open air and less tree cover. Moorhens, Gallinula Chloropus, are common and all too often ignored by many. This one had chicks, probably a second brood, one was pleading for food..the other tucked into the warmth of a parents wing popped its head out for a look at the world outside!

We then took a short drive up to the moor above Keighley, I have walked up here a lot and earlier this year the call of the cuckoo rang loud and on one memorable occasion I tracked one for a long time eventually getting a decent photograph:-

As we wandered along the faint path a bird flew across our sight line, from near the wall as I was I could not see where it had gone, Mrs Wildlife on a slightly wider line whispered that it had settled on the wall. Binocs raised I moved wider to take a look, one brief glance suggested a hawk of easy mistake to make with a cuckoo, cuculus canorus. A couple of photographs, which would have been more than acceptable, were taken but better was to follow. The cuckoo flew off and we celebrated our good fortune and wandered on a short distance to where a huge pile of rocks marks a crossroads for many of the paths up here.

We sat on the rocks scanning round for any more birds, truth to be told...there wasn't much! A couple of hikers passed and asked if we had seen much. "Juvenile cuckoo" I said, the looks on their faces were ones of "Yeah right..."

We took a different path back to the car, that was fortunate. Only a short distance away from where we had been sat but this would have been out of sight we found the cuckoo again, this time we saw it before it saw us and the wind was in our face, always helpful! Time to go into stalking mode again, taking photographs when I could to ensure I had some shots I eventually found cover behind a large rock. A juvenile cuckoo and posing nicely too!

My best shots yet of this hard to photograph bird, maybe next year I can get even better ones:-))

I hope readers enjoy my wildlife explorations, I try to get different things and I am really enjoying the memory bank of knowledge I am building up. I don't always give exact locations, if you want to know where these places are get in touch and I will pass on the information privately.

The other thing I try to do is post regularly, things lose relevance when they are posted several months after the event took place, well I think so anyway.

If you have any ideas as to how the blog could be improved, or if you have just enjoyed it leave a comment, feedback is good...and it is free!!


  1. What a fantasic treat for you both, superb sighting of the Juvenile Cuckoo and wonderfully clear photos. I did love the Moorhen as well, a real family photo !

  2. Nice few hours out Dave, Great shots of the Cuckoo. Ive only ever seen a fleeting glimpse of one in flight before so was glad to see these. Walking alongside the woods near Seldom Seen we could hear one for about twenty minutes, but never saw it...Good blog.