June 05, 2010

This week in wildlife

The cuckoo's evocative, two-note call is inextricably bound up in our imaginations with summer, yet fewer and fewer of these seasonal visitors arrive each year, for reasons that are poorly understood. So it was a real treat to hear one this morning, calling from a Dorset thicket on a hot and humid afternoon. He'll probably be gone by August, his young - raised from eggs laid by his mate in the nest of another bird, and having probably killed the host birds' own chicks - a month or so later.
A city friend of mine swears he heard one in his south London garden last year; it was, of course, a wood pigeon - quite a different sound.