The song of the male Cuckoo is one of the most well-known bird sounds, yet few nonbirders ever see the bird itself. Though very widely distributed across the whole of the UK, Cuckoos are not common birds (fewer than 20,000 pairs) and are painfully shy. They are most frequently seen by tracing the origin of the song of the male, which frequently sings from the top of a tree or bush or even a telephone wire. Females don’t make the ‘cuckoo’ song, but instead have a pleasing, excited bubbling call. Both sexes are quite similar, looking like a mix between a slim dove and a falcon. GREY PLOVER
In North America, this wader is known by the much less demeaning name of Black-bellied Plover, and at this time of year, you get to see why. They are spectacular looking birds in full breeding plumage, combining spangled upper parts and jet black underparts. Though very much coastal birds, they will also cross the country, turning up at suitable inland sites.