Rare sight­ing of vis­i­tor to the na­ture re­serve

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - COUNTRYFILE - by Owen Leyshon of the Rom­ney Marsh Coun­try­side Project

OF­FI­CIALLY spring is nearly with us, al­though we can all agree there have been many signs of spring al­ready over the last two months. I saw my first spring bird mi­grant the other day, but it was not the tra­di­tional wheatear, chif­fchaff or swal­low but a real rar­ity – a great spot­ted cuckoo. This bird sum­mers in Spain and the East­ern Mediter­ranean and is usu­ally only seen in Bri­tain about once a year. The bird was seen on the RSPB re­serve of the Dun­geness Na­tional Na­ture Re­serve. The great spot­ted cuckoo is an im­pres­sive bird, big­ger than our familiar cuckoo and only slightly smaller than a mag­pie. The bird has a light ash grey crest and head, a dark back and wings with white spots pep­per­ing it, with an enor­mous long tail, pale lemon yel­low un­der­neath and a slightly down­curved short bill. Cuck­oos lay their eggs in other birds’ nests, our nor­mal cuckoo lays its eggs in the nests of reed war­blers, dun­nocks or meadow pip­its, de­pend­ing on the habi­tat. Great spot­ted cuck­oos lay their eggs in crows’ nests, es­pe­cially mag­pies. They feed on large in­sects and cater­pil­lars and spend plenty of time on the ground.

If you have any ques­tions about Na­ture Notes call Owen Leyshon on 01797 367934

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.