I’d set myself a task over the weekend to try and hear a cuckoo and get a picture of one, and to try and get the first sighting of the year of the whitethroat.
Alison and I visited Rufford Park on Sunday 23rd April and saw a variety of different species, but nothing different from what we’d already seen on the lakes and areas around our home.
However, we did capture this one off: we heard a high pitched trill close by and looked in the surrounding trees and hedgerows. Then Alison said, “Look, Lee, in the gap in that fence!” Look what greeted us: a baby song thrush calling for its parents. What a picture! Right time and place again. Hope you love it as much as we did.
Anyway, on with the star of the show: the whitethroat. I did actually get these pictures on 24th April and heard the cuckoo quite close although I never saw it. I will get one for you, I promise!
I was told by my mate Pete to walk right down the river towards Lound, so that’s what I did. I heard that amazing call: a harsh “tchak” followed by a rapid cheerful scratchy warble, and knew that it was the call of a whitethroat. It then flew up from vegetation and perched high on a bush, where I got the first pictures.
Notice its lovely grey cap and cheeks, the striking white throat and long brown edged white tail, with light pinkish brown legs.
The whitethroat will sing in flight too. A summer visitor or migrant to much of Europe, it will nest concealed in vegetation near the ground. Heath, scrub and woodlands are among its favourite places to hang out.
Since I took these pictures around Idle Valley, we’ve seen and heard lots of whitethroats in different locations.
We really enjoy our birding outings, and I often get asked when I’m out what I’m looking at. This happened on Friday, when I got talking to a lady and gentleman. We discovered that they knew my mum and dad (both sadly departed) very well from being teenagers. It was a fantastic moment when they realised whose son I was, and it made my day. Another reason to get out there – you never know who you might meet!