Cuckoo -- Cuculus canorus

Cuckoos are such a feature of the area that in the local press they're referred to as the "Rolvenden cuckoo". In fact there are at least two and they range almost up to the East End or Benenden Road, where the hospital is. What is remarkable about them is the number of hours of the day and night they call -- longer than, for example, the robins. In my recordings of tawnies they can be heard starting at about 2 am, and they continue into the late evening. That's about a four hour break for sleep!

Anyway, on 21 May 2005 I struck lucky with the Rolvenden cuckoo. I went to the lane next to Beston Farm to record a dawn chorus. The chorus wasn't a particularly good one, but 40 minutes into it a Cuckoo was heard nearby . . and then suddenly there he was in an Ash tree directly above me. For the next 11 minutes I stood stock still as he sang, or called, or whatever it is a Cuckoo does. I could see him quite clearly. With every cuck-coo he bowed, now to the left and then to the right. During brief pauses every few minutes he fell silent and had a good preen.

This excerpt begins near the beginning, as he's approaching. He does the funny Cuckoo gargle, a noise that seems to be associated with moving from one place to another. The recording's made with the Telinga without its dish, my usual setup for a dawn chorus when I want the bird noises from all around. The Cuckoo's 30-40 feet above my head.

Beston Farm Cuckoo (2.33 Mb) 160 kb/s mp3, 2 minutes

There's a pair of Cuckoos calling in the Backtilt wood Nightingale mp3 on the Nightingale page (second recording).

powered by owls