The hills are alive...

Raptor monitoring work is the perfect opportunity to socially isolate, not a human to be seen all day. However, it was great to come across good numbers of Cuckoos all voicing their presence. Interestingly the local Meadow and Tree pipits are apparently aware that Cuckoos are not good news and were mobbing them whenever they settled. How they know this is one of the more extraordinary facets of bird behaviour; their only negative experience may have been a moment, a year prevously, when a Cuckoo laid an egg in their nest although clearly the trauma of this was short-lived as they set about feeding the increasingly grotesque offspring that subsequently overflowed the nest. Perhaps the rather raptor-like colours partly explain their reaction but ultimately it must be yet another behavioural trait which is mainly intertwined in their DNA. Here are a couple of shots taken yesterday including a lucky flight image showing the Cuckoo's long wings.