|Tuesday, 06 July 2010 23:29|
Unexpected encounter with Cuckoo
I have always admired photographs of Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus) – it has always been a little mysterious bird that I only knew as a voice sounding from the depth of the forests. Also given the small number of pictures on the internet I thought that watching Cuckoo from close distance is one-in-life event. What happened during our trip to Dovre this year was better that all my previous expectations for this bird – Cuckoos were almost everywhere and so I was very happy to be able to take few shots.
Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus)
When we watched Cuckoo this Spring on the Dutch Texel Island I was pretty nervous just because of that opportunity to watch it from some 50 meters distance. The bird was very shy and did not let us get closer.
On the other hand the trip to Norwegian Nature Park Dovre had several goals bird-wise but Cuckoo was certainly not on the list – it must have been my inexperience and unfamiliarity because Cuckoo seems to be quite common species in Norwegian nature…well, Norway has much more to offer but I did not know that. Not a long time ago I thought Norway was ornithologically monotonous – my trips to islands nearby Bergen were not very productive and I almost lost all love for Norwegian birds. It all has changed with the trip to Dovre – it seems like I fell in love with arctic avifauna.
But back to Dovre – the very first Cuckoo I have seen there was the bird in Fokstumyra Nature reserve and I thought it was just great luck – I was satisfied with the record picture taken from ca. 50 meters. That this would not be the only observation I realized the very same day in the evening when the other Cuckoo lingered around our cabin and I finally had a chance to watch this bird from close distance! The Cuckoo patiently watched the other nesting bird species with an obvious goal – to find another victim – nesting birds that would hatch and look after the Cuckoo chick. This bird again was very shy and flew away as soon as I came closer. After the return from the late evening trip to mountains the Cuckoo was back again – this time I paid attention to not to disturb the bird and tried to get closer for a decent shot – I have made that and was happy as a child that I got few full-frame pictures although these were really bad (ISO 3200 and shutter speed around 1/80 with 500mm lens).
But the real Cuckoo feast happened the other day when we headed to Hjerkinn – we came across one spot where we were able to count 7 Cuckoos at one place! The spot was fenced pasture right next to the road – the Cuckoos were collecting insect in the low-mowed grass and rested on the poles. Neither these birds were very tame so I decided to take pictures from the car – that means pulling down the window, rising the lens up in order to not to frighten away the birds later and slowly approaching the bird post in decelerating car. Sometimes the Cuckoo flew away but in some cases it stayed and sometimes I was so close that the bird did not fit in the camera frame!
The direct high light of the early afternoon and high angle of view spoil the quality of the pictures but should I be disappointed? I have always been wondering if I ever get a chance to watch Cuckoo and now I’m complaining about details :- )
As the Dovre trip was the very first and short trip, I have not had time to follow individual species for a longer time – that applies to Cuckoos too. But the place had great potential for nice observations and pictures - as an example the very last evening when we took a trip up to the mountains right beyond the campground we watched Meadow Pipits driving out Cuckoo from their nesting grounds, so the very last picture is rather a record shot of that event:
Enemies – Cuckoo and Meadow Pipit:____________________________________________________________________________________________
|Last Updated on Thursday, 27 January 2011 09:16|