Yesterday I saw something I have never seen before – a fledgling cuckoo sitting on a shrub branch in my garden. It took me a few moments to work out what it was and I have now checked the bird book and it is definitely a juvenile cuckoo. I’ve never even seen an adult cuckoo here on Dartmoor, though I have heard one calling in the woods behind us.
By the time I had got the camera the fledgling had, inevitably, disappeared. In it’s place was an adult male blackbird. When I opened the window the blackbird flew into the shrub where it scurried along the top of the wall followed by the fledgling.
This morning I saw it again, hopping across the same piece of lawn. I fear one of our pairs of hard-working blackbirds have been cuckooed.
It’s a really busy time in the bird world around here. Every bush and tree canopy seems to be full of high-pitched cheeping from fledglings demanding increasing amounts of food from their parents. At the weekend I watched four or five of them flitting around the canopy of an oak tree in short glides, all the while calling for food. I’ve just been out trying to watch a wren fledgling in one of the bushes in the garden, but every time I get near enough to have a peek at it the sensible little thing realises I’m there, goes silent and hides.