14 May 2010

Cuckoo Cuculus canorus in Donegal

I have been up in Donegal for a week and the highlight for me is that there has been a Cuckoo around my parents farm and even as I type this I can hear it. It hasn't been easy to photograph and I have followed its calls all over the place. From the edge of Lough Fern, where there were loads of Sedge Warbler singing, to the Rath at the top of the hill above the farm. It has on a couple of occasions flown directly overhead and both times when I was in the garden.



After the first day it decided to wake us up at 3.20am in the morning and sang continuously for an hour this was in the tree directly outside our back door. I even recorded it from my bed and this is with the window closed. You can listen to it here .



On the second day after only getting the above shot I decided to go and see if I could add Grouse to my year list and so headed towards Glenveagh to a spot I have seen them before. When I got out of the car there were Grasshopper Warblers reeling away and over a period of 500 yards I reckon I heard three different individuals, but no sighting. Then I heard a Cuckoo in some pines over to my left and eventually spotted it sitting on the top of a small pine being mobbed by meadow pipits. It then flew low in front of me and I got these two shots.



I then headed on down the track and flushed a Grouse within fifty metres of where I saw one last year and the previous year. Unlike the last time it had gone before I could focus on it.

As I was coming back the Cuckoo then flew past me and I got my favourite shot.


So a pretty good few days. I have only one previous shot of a Cuckoo out at Killard and find them quite difficult to find let alone photograph so to get two different birds in two days was a real bonus.

8 comments:

Weiers said...

I used to live in the Western Cape in South Africa and remember spending hours chasing after the European Cuckoo with its familiar call. It was a very elusive bird.

In the last week-end of April a friend and I went hiking in the Mountains of Donegal (from Falcara to Fintown). On the third night we stayed in a tent in a boggy mountain area about 10 miles from Fintown. I woke up that morning with the first sound of a Cuckoo since I left South Africa (two years ago). It was a little bit of heaven in a landscape that was just too wet for comfort.

Kerry said...

You are so lucky to get the chance to photograph one, or in this case two. They are so good at throwing their call making it hard even to figure out where they are calling from. Great shots with good feather detail.

MaineBirder said...

Excellent BIF photos! Very interesting birds.

dreamfalcon said...

Great photos!
Just recently I was able to catch a European Cuckoo myself - in Nepal...

Anonymous said...

Your photos might be the closest I ever get to seeing a Cuckoo - so thanks for the excellent photos Craig.

Neil H said...

Have been lucky enough to see Cuckoos this year and last year on the Monaghan-Tyrone border. Especially good views this year but we couldn't manage any good photos. There are some good recent photos of a cuckoo on the Sligo birding website and I'm amazed at how many excellent ones you managed.

Anonymous said...

Hi i was searching for cuckoos in ireland and this came up.i love your blog. lovely photos. I also looked at your flickr site and I loved your arctic tern photo.

I live near coleraine and heard a cuckoo this morning but i could not see it.

Sheila

Peter said...

Well done on capturing such fantastic photos - I know how hard it can be to get the bird in the lens, let alone in flight. Smashing!