by Pippa Greenwood

I'm still recovering from a recent night spent under canvas, which was particularly notable for a visit from our local cuckoo.

Pippa Greenwood portraitI'm still recovering from a recent night spent under canvas, which was particularly notable for a visit from our local cuckoo.

We first encountered the cuckoo last year, after waiting patiently for many hours, binoculars trained in the direction of its call. This year it's remained firmly hidden, but it has been rather vocal. I lay in the tent, at somewhere between 5am and 6am.  The cat slept, the children slept, but the cuckoo appeared to have just woken up. 

It was the first time I had heard a cuckoo so early in the morning. I really wish I'd made a recording of its song.  For the first few minutes it didn't give the usual 'cuckoo, cuckoo' call,  but rather a 'cuck-eeergh, cuck-eeergh' sound.  It sounded as if it was clearing its throat, or perhaps warming its voice up for the day ahead. Or maybe, like me, it was expressing its objection to the large expanses of oilseed rape close by. Who knows?

I was relieved when it eventually reverted to the standard 'cuckoo, cuckoo', and I could drift back to sleep.

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Gardeners' World Web User 26/06/2009 at 09:42

We have at least one in the valley below us, which we can hear when the wind is easterly. They missed a year last year, but were there the year before. They seemed to arrive almost a month late this year - well into June, if our local cuckoo fair at the beginning of May is anything to go by!

Gardeners' World Web User 27/06/2009 at 10:27

hello pippa I would very much like call upon your gardening skills, in the diagnosing of a problem I have in my greenhouse. I am a first time grower, and have noticed that the leaves on the tomatoes plants I am Growing are starting to turn yellow.I also have four strawberry plants,and there leaves are drying out and turning brown. Am I doing something wrong or is it some kind of fungal infection. I would appreciate any help you can give me. Respectfully Wheelbarrowman.

Gardeners' World Web User 28/06/2009 at 11:01

You are very lucky. I live in cheshire and I have no heard a cuckoo for years.

Gardeners' World Web User 29/06/2009 at 13:57

Yes, I gather that cuckoos are being heard less widely this year, lets hope it is just a 'blip' and that there will be plenty more about next year!

Gardeners' World Web User 28/11/2011 at 18:38

Strange. I'm in Surrey, and haven't heard one this year.