The First Cuckoo of Spring

by Insiders Dunedin

It was once a predictable feature of English life that, each year around April, retired colonels from the Home Counties would write to The Times of London claiming to have sighted the first cuckoo of spring.

While our native shining cuckoos may not sing 'cuck–oo', they are also migrants and many Kiwis don't consider that spring has arrived until they hear the slurring notes of first returning cuckoo. Each year, in late September and October, these sparrow-sized cuckoos leave the Bismarck Archipelago (New Guinea) and the Solomon Islands for their breeding grounds in New Zealand where they parasitize small bush birds, mainly grey warblers.

This year, I heard my first shining cuckoo calling on a Sunday afternoon (12 October), as I was weeding the vege garden at my Dalmore home. The next day I went out looking for them, and bagged a few shots of an obliging bird near the Dunedin Botanic Garden.

For more of my wildlife photography, see http://500px.com/psorrell.

Post submitted by Paul Sorrell.

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