• Barbara Copperthwaite

Going cuckoo!

Canada Goose gosling, Barbara Copperthwaite, Go Be Wild

Coot chick, Barbara Copperthwaite, Go Be Wild

Even now that the young Coots are bigger and swimming on the water all the time, those careful Coot parents are still building up and maintaining their nest all the time. While the chicks sat on the nest sunning themselves, they watched their parents swimming in from different directions bringing in extra twigs in and carefully placing them. Male and female were even bringing bright, freshly-fallen leaves over that decorated the nest. One of the chicks started to tug at the twigs too as if trying to join in.

Later, the female settled down on the nest, and while some of the young continued to swim, one nestled under the safety of their parent. It did make me smile to see its face peeping out every now and again from beneath her tail. I felt like calling, “It’s behind you!” to the mother.

Its siblings were happy on the water, swimming around while their father brought them titbits. I just love the speed that these tiny chicks, ducklings and goslings can move at. It’s like they’re super charged.

The Canada Geese are still being very protective, and hissing at anything that gets within range of them. They are doing a fine job of standing guard – and it’s working because they’ve still got all seven of their goslings.

Yesterday I also visited Hall Green’s Christmas tree farm, taking a long walk beside it and along the canal. The area is famous for its cuckoos at this time of year and I was very excited because I haven’t heard a cuckoo’s call in years. It used to be such a common sound of spring that when I was growing up it barely gave me pause to listen. How times have changed (and I’m not THAT old…!). Now the bird is on the RSPB’s Red List because numbers have declines so much.

I was not disappointed, as within minutes of nearing the Christmas tree farm, I heard one! Then another! It was fabulous to simply stand and let the sound wash over me, and I realised I had a big, foolish grin on my face.

As I continued walking, I spotted something sitting on a tree branch. Against the sun, it was hard to make out, and I told myself not to be disappointed if it was not…but as I moved around, I saw the distinctive dark bars running across a pale chest. Yes, I had not only heard but seen a cuckoo – a female, I would hazard. It made my day, I can tell you, even though it did move on just as I pointed my camera, leaving me with a lovely photograph of a tree branch…

After walking for almost eight miles I popped in to see a friend. As we sat chatting in her back garden, something glinting in the sunlight caught my eye. I looked closer and saw it was wings…with a long thin body beneath… I pointed dramatically and cried: “Look, my first damselfly of the year!”

What a fabulous way to end a fabulous day!

#coot #canadageese #cuckoo #damselfly

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