First Cuckoo 2021

Anna Springett heard a cuckoo yesterday at 4:45 am in Laddingford, Kent.

Deborah Jefferis heard a cuckoo yesterday in Oakham, Rutland.

B Williams heard a cuckoo today in Hermon, Carmarthenshire, Wales.

He said, “I think I saw it yesterday in woodland, but wasn’t sure as not seen one before. Today I heard it near our farmhouse.”

Jenna heard a cuckoo calling for 10 minutes today as she was walking her dog. The call came from Sparham Pools Nature Reserve off Lyng Road, Sparham Norfolk.

Lesley Morgan heard a cuckoo yesterday in Kilmore, Sleat, Isle of Skye.

Mark Davies heard a cuckoo yesterday in Ilston on Gower, Swansea.

Jayne Lewis heard a cuckoo today at Avon Meadows, Pershore, Worcestershire.

She said, “First return of our small new community on the community owned wetlands with habitat improved over a decade ago. This is long established wetlands along the River Avon but the cuckoos moved here up from another site at Wick.”

Rachel Cornish heard a cuckoo today in North Newton, Bridgwater, Somerset.

She said she heard it at about 5:30 am.

Jo Stevens heard a cuckoo today in Ribblehead, North Yorkshire.

Amanda heard a cuckoo today in Wheetley, Warwickshire.

Jo Stevens heard a cuckoo in Ribblehead, North Yorkshire.

JD heard a cuckoo at Blackmoor Golf Course, Whitehill, Bordon, Surrey. 

Celia heard a cuckoo today in Greenholme, Cumbria.

Rebecca Thompson heard a cuckoo just outside Eynsham, Oxfordshire.

Robert Warren heard a cuckoo  on the 19th April at Langley Common, Weavers Down,  Hampshire.

Rickie Neville heard a cuckoo today in Mepal, Cambridgeshire.

He said, “I was fishing at a private lake and heard the cuckoo this morning.”

Susan Ringwood heard a cuckoo today at Craignure on the Isle of Mull.

Holly Budgen heard a cuckoo today at Oxen Park Farm, Lower Ashton, Devon.

Jackie Newberry heard a cuckoo on the 19th April in Hook, Hampshire.

Graham Swift heard a cuckoo on the 19th April at Sutton Hoo, near Woodbridge, Suffolk.

Dianne heard a cuckoo yesterday in Aberedw, Powys.

She said, “I was walking alongside the River Edw about halfway between Aberedw and Llanbadarn y Garreg and heard the cuckoo on the hill (Llandeilo Hill).”

Carole Bolton heard a cuckoo today in Mortimer, Berkshire.

Will Irvine heard a cuckoo yesterday in New Radnor, Powys.

Mark Pritchard heard a cuckoo today in Cannock Chase, Staffordshire.

Lulu heard a cuckoo today at Gilfach Nature Reserve, Rhayader.

Phil Sutton heard a cuckoo yesterday at Chiltern Forest Golf Club, Halton, Aston Clinton, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire.

Shani Broome heard a cuckoo today when looking north from Hound Tor on Dartmoor, when returning to the car park.

Ros Abbott heard a cuckoo today in Grasmere, Cumbria.

Jenny Harris heard a cuckoo today in Titchwell, Norfolk.

Victorine Smith heard a cuckoo today in Hackleton, Northampton.

Suzy Hughes heard a cuckoo yesterday near Chearsley, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire.

A. Forrest heard a cuckoo on and off all morning between Trevett’s Corner and Wootton Hill, Dorset.

Sarah Clark heard a cuckoo today in Stonegate, East Sussex.

Laurene heard and saw a cuckoo today in Oakley, Buckinghamshire.

She said, “I see and hear the cuckoo in the same spot every year. There is an open field with scrubland beside it next to the village park. It was in a tree next to the field, and then flew to the edge of the scrub field.”

Bridget Pearce heard a cuckoo today in Lymington in the New Forest.

Jan and Andy Maytum heard a cuckoo today in Elan Valley, Powys, Wales.

They said, “We heard him singing on and off for at least an hour from the trees overlooking a reservoir.”

Glendda Graves heard a cuckoo this evening in Alverstone Garden Village on the Isle of Wight.

Frances heard a cuckoo today in Carradale, Argyll and Bute.

Andrew heard a cuckoo today in Rholben, Abergavenny.

Gaby heard a cuckoo on the 10th April in Raw Marsh, Belstone, Devon.

Fiona Bettles heard a cuckoo calling on and off for an hour in Golden Green, Tonbridge, Kent.

Claire Moore heard a cuckoo today in Wadhurst, East Sussex.

Philip Bohannan heard a cuckoo on the 16th April in Little Baddow, Essex.

Leila Ward heard a cuckoo today in Altnaharra, Sutherland in the Scottish Highlands.

John Brownscombe heard a cuckoo today in Newchurch, Isle of Wight.

Kathy Clarke heard a cuckoo today in Acres Down in the New Forest.

Kathryn Sagar heard a cuckoo today in Caerphilly, Wales.

She said, “Heard the sound this morning, the first of the year in dense woodland. I hear them every year in the woods and walk there every day so it’s a lovely sound first thing in the morning.”

Sarah Emanuel heard a cuckoo in Marden, Kent.

Sarah McDade heard a cuckoo on the 11th April on Elstead Common, Elstead, Surrey.

Jane Pearce-Vogan heard a cuckoo yesterday in Milford on Sea in the New Forest.

Peter Smerdon heard a cuckoo yesterday at 11:30 am in Rattery, South Devon.

Neil Middleton heard a cuckoo today in East Tytherley, Hampshire.

Jeff Cox heard a cuckoo today in Dunkery Beacon, Somerset.

Steve Downing heard a cuckoo on the 12th April in Shipley, West Sussex, near to where the storks are being bred.

Carl Johnson heard a cuckoo yesterday in Widecombe-in-the-Moor, Devon.

He said, “Heard 3 calls in the Widecombe valley north of the village.”

Vicki heard a cuckoo on the 13th April in Chiddingfold, Surrey.

Anne Head heard a cuckoo today in Lambourn, West Berkshire.

She said, “I heard my first cuckoo call this year for the first time in years and it was on a telephone call to my daughter, she was standing in Lambourn High St Car park at the time. I was thrilled as we dont hear any in our Devonshire village.”

Amanda Towl heard a cuckoo yesterday between Cressage and Kelley in Shropshire at around 10.00 a.m.

Ronnie Goodyer heard a cuckoo today in Cookworthy Forest, Devon.

He said, “We hear the cuckoo (s) every year. I heard it this morning for the first time this year. Tried to record on phone but didn’t pick up. For the day I have renamed Cookworthy “Cuckoo-Worthy’!”

We love that Ronnie. You’re the second person today who heard the cuckoo in Cookworthy Forest, so a great renaming!

Heather Bunce heard a cuckoo in Ashford, Barnstaple, Devon.

She said, “I was in our garden which backs onto fields when I heard the cuckoo singing. Such a lovely herald to spring! Reading your info on cuckoos was interested to read today is St Tiburtius Day when traditionally you hear the first cuckoo!”

Paul Hipkin heard a cuckoo in Cookworthy Forest, Devon.

Ali heard a cuckoo at Setthorns campsite, Sway, Hampshire.

Roy Dadge heard a cuckoo in his garden coming from the direction of Manor Road, Ashton, Surrey.

Catherine Swain heard a cuckoo on the 9th April in Wylde Green.

She said, ” I live in Sutton Coldfield and couldn’t sleep, I heard a cuckoo at about 5am! I know pigeons can sound like them, so I checked the call, it was definitely a cuckoo.”

Keeley Sparrow heard a cuckoo near lakes, north of Broom, Bedfordshire.

Dawn Fletcher heard a cuckoo in Combe Martin, North Devon.

She said, “I heard the cuckoo as I stood in my garden – the sound was coming from some nearby trees.”

Cuckoo Line Railway

G Williams heard a cuckoo calling today in Polegate, East Sussex.

He said, “Taking a break from a sunny cycle ride along the Cuckoo Trail when I heard such a welcome sound from the trees across the small lake in marshy land between Eastbourne and Polegate . The track follows the route of the very aptly named old Cuckoo Line Railway!”

Patricia Scott heard a cuckoo in Ford, Argyll and Bute, Scotland.

She said, “Heard the cuckoo this morning for the first time this year. A regular visitor for several years.”

Caron Stone heard a cuckoo in Oxenhope, Yorkshire.

She said, “There are some trees in the corner of the field and know that they are usually heard each year and have used these trees to rest and nest.”

Kivlan O’Brien heard a cuckoo calling for a short time on the 10th April from the football pitch by the community shop in Fittleworth, West Sussex.

Simon Charters heard a cuckoo today in Tanygrisiau, Blaenau Ffestiniog.

Kelly-Ann McGuinness heard a cuckoo on the 31st March at approximately 6:45 pm whilst walking in Swanscombe Marshes. She didn’t see the cuckoo, but recorded the sound on her phone.

Sonia Fenner heard a cuckoo in Langford, Biggleswade in Bedfordshire.

Mrs Read heard a cuckoo on Graffham Common between Midhurst and Petworth in West Sussex.

Michelle Lewis heard a cuckoo in a wooded edge of open heath and marshland at Longslade Bottom, Brockenhurst in the New Forest.

Andrew Clarke heard a cuckoo at 2:00 pm in broadleaf woodland on the edge of an open coppice area near Woolaston, Gloucestershire.

Yvette Ford heard a cuckoo in Sidlesham, West Sussex.

Tracey Peace heard a cuckoo today in Giggleswick churchyard, North Yorkshire.

Lucy Pendrick heard a cuckoo in Triscombe Stone car park in Wiveliscombe, Somerset.

Ian Sampson heard a cuckoo calling for several minutes in Hincheslea Wood, west of Brockenhurst in the New Forest.

Andy Hannaford heard a cuckoo on Cavenham Heath, near Icklingham, Suffolk.

Rebecca Bennett said she heard a cuckoo on Lydeard Hill, Quantock Hills near Bridgwater, Somerset.

Joanne Thackeray heard a cuckoo today in Stockbridge, Hampshire.

She said, “Heard the cuckoo call just around 7 pm here along the river test in the test valley.”

Christopher Stanton heard and saw a cuckoo in Richmond, London.

He said, “Not heard one in town before in 9 years. Probably moving through as only heard a calling while sitting in a tree for a short time.”

Diana Adams heard a cuckoo today at about 6:30 am at Exeter Golf and Country Club.

She said, “Not heard it from our home near the Golf course before.”

Gordon W heard a cuckoo this morning at 9:30 am above Greenock near Dougliehill Water Treatment Works.

He added, “Cuckoo was heard calling before seeing it through my telescope around 120 meters away on the south facing slope perched on a fence post in rough grassland before it flew off.”

What a shame Gordon wasn’t able to get a photograph.

Carl Williams heard a cuckoo on the 1st April in Twyford, Herefordshire. He said, “A beautiful spring day, saw our first house Martin of the year on our dog walk in the morning, and in the afternoon heard our first cuckoo from the garden perfect 👌”

Peggy Knight says she head a cuckoo in Hailsham, East Sussex.

She said, “No, this is not an April fools joke. We hear it most years and it’s coming from the same direction as is usual. We are fairly near Pevensey levels backing on to the Cuckoo line path. It’s not a pigeon as we get lots in our garden and cuckoo Is clearer. We are not twitchers but take a keen interest in wildlife and the birds in and around.”

Geoffrey Robinson emailed us to say he heard a cuckoo today in Market Harborough, Leicestershire.

He said, “I’ve never heard the call of a cuckoo before. But this morning, before 10.00 I heard cuck-oo, cuck-oo, cuck-oo, followed by a pause, a repeat call, a pause, a further call, then silence. It was in a deeper tone than I would have imagined.”

Geoffrey, you probably still haven’t hard a cuckoo, as a cuckoo with a deeper tone sounds like a collared dove.

Neil claims he heard a cuckoo from his garden which backs onto Manor Park Cemetery in Forest Gate, London.

S Pippett heard a cuckoo in Trowbridge, Wiltshire.

He said, “Thought I heard it a couple of times on 29th March during the day, but then definitely heard it about 6am on 30th.”

John Cossins heard a cuckoo in Knaphill, Woking, Surrey.

He said, “I heard a cuckoo from my garden close to extensive woodland.”

Phil Laurie said he heard a cuckoo today in his garden in Harrogate.

Dinah Bugg claims to have seen a cuckoo in Wicken Fen, Cambridge on the 23rd March.

She said, “The cuckoo was seen by myself and a friend as it flew across our path into the cover of trees.”

Lesley Roberts claims to have seen a cuckoo in Brixham, Torbay.

Just one photo. It’s all we ask.

Frederick Harris heard a cuckoo today in woods near Haywards Heath Golf Club, West Sussex.

Lyn heard a cuckoo today in Bramshaw in the New Forest.

Maggie Jephcott claimed to have heard a cuckoo on the 18th March in Sutton Coldfield.

This is actually the second very, very early cuckoo heard in Sutton Coldfield this year. Maggie was beaten by Margaret by nearly 2 months.

Avril Froggatt heard a cuckoo today in Kiveton Park, Sheffield.

She said, “We live on a small estate in the edge of countryside, there are woods nearby. I was gardening when I clearly heard the cuckoo call three or four times.”

Tanya Harris heard a cuckoo today in Kippax. Leeds.

Emilie Lyons said she heard a cuckoo yesterday in Epping Forest in Chingford.

She added, “I live just south of Epping Forest, in Chingford. A small stream that runs out of the forest (The Ching) runs alongside my garden, with a lot of trees either side. Every day for the past few days in the early evening I have been hearing a cuckoo. I thought at first it must be a Collared Dove but the more I hear it the more I’m sure it’s a Cuckoo. I have also seen a Little Egret in the stream if that’s of interest to you, it certainly was for me!”

Gillian Bloor said she heard a cuckoo today in Hickling, Nottinghamshire.

She said, “A bit too early I thought.”

Correct, Gillian.

Louise Dennis heard a cuckoo yesterday in Bampton, Oxfordshire.

She said, “Heard in my garden then later in the day when walking on a country lane just outside my village.”

Steve Porter heard a cuckoo in Little Langton, North Yorkshire.

He said, “My wife and I both heard the cuckoo call at the same time. We both looked at each other and said that’s a cuckoo at the same time.”

Great minds think alike!

Peter Archibald heard a cuckoo today in Stamford Bridge, York.

He said, ” heard it this morning at about 5.30 am but was a long way from me but it defiantly was a cuckoo.”

Christine Brown heard a cuckoo in her garden in New Radnor, Wales.

Emma Pickering heard a cuckoo in woodland in Springview, Wigan.

Les heard a cuckoo today in Rhydywaun near Aberdare.

He said, “Heard it several times at approx 13:25 near my house which has some woodland near by.”

Adrian Boyns heard a cuckoo today on moorland in Boskednan, Cornwall.

Aine Traynor heard a cuckoo today in Roscommon Town, Ireland.

Linda Wyville said she heard a cuckoo in Worksop, Nottinghamshire.

Val Starling claims to have heard a cuckoo today in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire.

She said, “I’m lying in bed having my second cuppa with the window ajar. I’m listening to the distinctive wood pigeon close at hand and then, when he stops, in the distance, a cuckoo. I know it’s early in the year, but is it possible! My father brought us up to listen to distinctive bird song and I’m fairly convinced that’s what I heard.”

Geoffrey Simpkin heard a cuckoo today in woodland at the rear of Lunts Heath Road, Widnes.

He said, “I was sat working from home on my laptop with the back doors closed and I heard a faint familiar sound. When I opened the doors i was greeted with the lovely sound of cuckoo cuckoo…. what a delight.”


We got very excited today when we saw that Eugene Broderick had emailed us with an image attached.

He wrote, “Spotted a strange bird in the gardens of Compton Terrace in Islington at around 5pm today and we thought it was a bird of prey at first but now believe it is a cuckoo. It surveyed the area for 5 minutes before swooping and flying off to the trees at the other end of the terrace. I’ve attached a photo, it’s not a great one but there you go!”

Eugene – you had our hopes up there for a minute but you should have gone with your first instinct. Your photo is indeed of a bird of prey, a sparrowhawk. If you had been aware that it is far too early for cuckoos to be back in the UK then you may not have made the misidentification.

Melissa Moremon heard a cuckoo today in her garden in Westcott, Surrey.

She said, “I was lying in bed this morning with the windows open and very clearly heard a cuckoo doing its “ku-kuu” about 4 times. It is quiet and rural where I am and it was quite unmistakable.”

Lesley Harrison heard a cuckoo in Bacton, Norfolk.

She said, “Location 1.5 miles from beach. Heard it at 8.10am this morning. My neighbour also heard it.”

Alan Baker heard a cuckoo in Linton, Cambridge when he was lying in bed.

He said, “It was not the sound of a Collar Dove or pigeon so I am pretty sure it was the sound of a cuckoo.”

Robert Eadie heard a cuckoo in Pulborough, West Sussex.

He said, “Heard a cuckoo this morning about 7am – hard to believe, seems so early? But no doubt about hearing it.”

Pete Gallon heard a cuckoo today in Burgess Hill, West Sussex.

Marcus Fergusson claims to have heard a cuckoo today in Horsington, Templecombe, Somerset.

He said, “Seems early but heard a cuckoo twice today.”

It is early – far too early in fact.

Becky saw a cuckoo in her garden in Dilton Marsh, Wiltshire today.

Sean Doyle heard a cuckoo at 8:30 am this morning while walking in Woolton Woods.

Pam said she heard a cuckoo today in Box Mill in Halstead, Essex.

William Don heard a cuckoo today in woodland in Peaslake, Surrey.

John Waterhouse heard a cuckoo today in Danbury, Essex.

He said, “Just putting washing out in the grand after a shower of rain and hear a cuckoo, stopped still and concentrated on the sound. Definitely not a pigeon, certain a cuckoo as it continued for four calls.”

Phil heard a cuckoo today in Thornhill, Cwmbran.

He said, “Heard my first cuckoo of 2021 this morning around 9:am sounding like an old clock. Woodpeckers also in the distance followed by wood pigeons.

“The call is very distinctive. we live on the side of a mountain 230m above mean sea level surrounded by woodland. Time to plant some tomatoes on the windowsill.”

It might be a bit early for those tomatoes, Phil.

Sara Vernon and her husband heard the cuckoo call yesterday in Dibden, Hampshire.

Christine said she heard a cuckoo in Winterton-on-Sea today.

She added, “Was very surprised as to early heard twice now so not mistaken!”

Unfortunately that’s not enough to convince us Christine, as we’re pretty sure that it’s possible for people to repeat mistakes.

Sue McDowall heard a cuckoo today in South Normanton, Derbyshire.

She said, “Thought I heard the distinct sound of the the cookoo this morning at about 8.30am, I’d heard the pigeons but then came the very distinct sound, not heard it for many years.”

Jan Dennehy said she heard a cuckoo today in Seaford, East Sussex.

She added, “I’m stunned to have very clearly heard a cuckoo at around 8am this morning. There was no other extraneous noise, and it was very clear. I realise this is traditionally far too early, but we all know urbanisation and global warming is leaving its mark on our wildlife so that further convinces me that I am correct.”

We are indeed aware of the impact urbanisation and global warming [sic] is having on wildlife. What we don’t understand is why this would cause cuckoos to leave their wintering grounds in Africa almost 2 months too early and arrive back in the UK before their major food sources are available, putting them at major risk of starvation.

Belinda Martin heard a cuckoo for the second time this year in Midenhall, Wiltshire.

It’s a shame Belinda wasn’t prepared with her camera this time so we could finally get a picture.

Di Kendall emailed to say she’d heard a cuckoo today at the edge of Narbeth, a small market town in Pembrokeshire, surrounded by open countryside.

Brigid Carroll said she heard a cuckoo today in Old Wives Lees, Kent.

Lesley claims to have head a cuckoo on the outskirts of Okehampton, Devon, near the woods and golf course.

It’s still too early for cuckoos to have arrived in the UK, and we’re still waiting for that elusive photographic evidence

Emma Hull said she saw a cuckoo today in an apple tree in her garden on the border of Kent and Surrey.

She said, “Couldn’t quite believe it but it was unmistakable!”

Sue Harrison said she heard a cuckoo today in her garden in Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex.

She added, “Couldn’t believe I heard it so went and got my husband, definitely a Cuckoo. It was 9:45 am”.

Mrs Avery said she heard a cuckoo in Hoblingwell Woods near St Paul’s Cray, Kent.

She added, “Saturday morning cuckoo called about 10 times spaced out over about 3 minutes. Very clear.”

Gavin Owens said he saw a cuckoo fledgling today in Elderdine, Telford

He said, “I saw a cuckoo fledgling in the garden today. Last summer we heard the male call. I know it’s very unusual but maybe because of our strange weather?”

If Gavin really saw a fledgling cuckoo in his garden today that means the parent bird must have laid their eggs in another bird’s nest at least a month ago. Robins are early layers and one of the species that cuckoos parasitise but …. no, we’re not even going to try and explain this one. Occam’s razor applies here.

Jason Smith said he saw a cuckoo sitting on his roof in Immingham, Lincolnshire.

Jane Morris said she heard a cuckoo today in Dolwyddelan, north Wales.

Elizabeth Green claimed she heard a cuckoo on the 29th January in Andover, Hertfordshire.

She said, “It sounded very like the cuckoos I hear in April, despite it only being January. My husband also heard it.”

Julie Hough said she heard a cuckoo in someone’s garden while waiting outside the Co-op in Clare, Suffolk.

Greg Sheldon claimed he heard a cuckoo today in Hanwell, London just after dawn at 8am.

Richie Williams claims he heard a cuckoo in his garden in Holyhead today.

He also accuses us of being arrogant and dismissive and questions whether all these folks are wrong.

We don’t think any of these folks are wrong in the sense that they are convinced they have seen or heard a cuckoo. However, the evidence strongly suggests that they are mistaken. Mr Williams may like to have a read of this to understand why.

Margaret Newport claims to have heard a cuckoo in Sutton Coldfield yesterday.

She said, “I was lying in bed and just as it was getting light I could hear the wood pigeons and then I heard the”cuckoo”. I knew it was very early in the year for one but it called quite a few times at spaced out intervals.”

Lynette Bickers claims to have head a cuckoo in Worthing, West Sussex today. She said she was very surprised by a large cuckoo sitting on her garden wall.

We’re not sure what it was that Lynette saw but it almost certainly wasn’t a cuckoo, because as far as we know a cuckoo has never decided to stay in Sunny Worthing for the winter. Of course, a photo would prove us wrong.

Sean Kennedy claims he saw a cuckoo today in Stow.

He said, “Very surprised to see this bird about 8.30 am. However, it was definitely a cuckoo! Brilliant!”

We would love to see a photo of the bird Sean saw, because if it was a cuckoo then it beats the current earliest sighting in the UK by more than a month, and the earliest record in Scotland by even more than that.

Tony Hughes emailed to tell us he heard a cuckoo today in Thirsk, North Yorkshire.

He said, “From in the house I was watching two pigeons sunning themselves this morning. It is their big tree and they chase off all comers. When the sun dipped I started breakfast around 7.45am. During this time I heard what sounded very different and definitely not any kind of pigeon! I thought that sounds like a cuckoo …… it can’t be I said to myself, so went outside, and yes, it was the distinctive sound of a Cuckoo!!! I heard them many times whilst living in France, so I know what they sound like.”

Perhaps French cuckoos sound different from British cuckoos because whatever Tony heard yesterday almost certainly wasn’t a cuckoo.

Gillian Wright claimed to have heard a cuckoo in her garden in Bletchley, Milton Keynes yesterday.

Tracey Eagles said she heard a cuckoo on the 9th January in her garden in Chalford, Stroud.

She said, “Haven’t heard a cuckoo for years! Distinct two note call heard by myself and another family member on the morning of 9/1/21 and again on 10/1/21 both around 9:30am-10:00am in the garden. We do have a lot of collared doves, but I know their call well and this sound was noticeably different. Interesting?”

Very interesting if it was indeed a cuckoo. However, it almost certainly wasn’t.

Daniel heard a cuckoo today in Duston, Northampton.

He said, “Seems way too early but it wasn’t a wood pigeon or collared dove. Distinctively heard the cuck-oo, cuck-oo sound.”

Correct, Daniel. It is way too early.

Bruce Hosking claimed to have heard a cuckoo today in Reymerston, Norfolk.

He said, “Unbelievable I know, but both myself and my wive heard it at 0910 this morning! Assuming nobody is playing a recording outside….! Which seems unlikely in this hamlet.”

It is indeed unbelievable as it’s far too early for cuckoos to have returned from their wintering grounds in Africa.

James emailed to say he’d heard a cuckoo twice in Bordon, east Hampshire.

He said, “I heard it twice just now. I normally hear them in spring at Frensham pond 5 miles away, but in spring!”

It’s doubtful that what James heard was a cuckoo as they have are currently in Africa taking a well earned break between migrations.