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First Cuckoo 2022

Ceri Williams heard a cuckoo on the 27th April in Blaengarw, Bridgend.

She said, “I heard the cuckoo when I was in my garden it was on the right side of the mountain in the valley where I live. It is its usual place”

Julie Fuller heard a cuckoo on Lavington Common in Graffham, West Sussex.

Ann R Hall heard a cuckoo on the 26th of April at National Trust Lanhydrock in Bodmin, Cornwall.

She said, “My husband and I distinctly heard a cuckoo at 5:20 pm when walking in the higher garden of National Trust Lanhydrock House on a glorious sunny blue sky afternoon. A very special first moment for me as in the past it’s been my Mum who has heard the first cuckoo of spring when I have been with her in our garden in Carlyon Bay or on a coastal walk! Truly thrilling and once noted it passed as quickly as a fleeting memory – truly special?!

“NT Lanhydrock has been a special place for my family for at least 5 generations! I was thrilled to hear my first cuckoo of spring ever, together with my husband in the higher garden. So distinctive. Precious moment on such a glorious Cornish sunny blue sky day surrounded by spring’s beauty!??”

Roger Vango heard a cuckoo in Bures on the Essex/Suffolk border.

Courtney heard a cuckoo in her garden in North Weald, Essex.

Dale Walker heard and saw a cuckoo in Ashover, Derbyshire.

He said, “Saw the cuckoo calling from the top of an almost bare tree – I was on the hillside so the top of the tree was right in my line of sight. It continued to call on and off in the area as I walked around the access land. First time for me being so close and such a clear view!”

Pamela Stevens heard a cuckoo in Porters Mill near Droitwich, Worcestershire.

Jo Hartas heard a cuckoo yesterday in Appley, Somerset.

She said, “We heard one down the valley in 2020. There have been no sounds of cuckoos in the 18 years we have lived here. (Other than our Cuckoo clock) and we are over the moon about this. Haven’t heard him today though! (So far)”

Veronica McNamara heard a cuckoo today at 9:30 am in her her garden in Cloone, County Leitrim.

Jennie Fidler heard a cuckoo on the 26th of April in Martlesham Heath, Suffolk.

Paula Fee heard a cuckoo at noon on the 23rd of April while out walking in Lisbellaw, County Fermanagh.

She said, “It was bright sunny day. Heard it several times.”

Chrysogon Bamber heard a cuckoo calling at 10:00 am this morning in water meadows by the River Avon in Figheldean, Wiltshire.

Heather Tune heard and saw a cuckoo on moorland on Bryn Mawr in Cellan, Ceredigion.

Linda Sparks heard a cuckoo today at around 4:00 pm in her garden in Kinletter in Ballybofey, Donegal.

Cuckoo

Ruth Macritchie heard a cuckoo yesterday in Back on the Isle of Lewis.

She said, “Was walking out the moor yesterday and I heard the first cuckoo of the spring in the trees. Out the same walk today, and I heard and saw the cuckoo. He was perched on a telegraph wire. He sung as I passed out and again when I came back.”

Heather Tracey heard and saw a cuckoo at Linhope Spout in Ingram, Northumberland.

Simon Gardner heard a cuckoo on Coombe Green Common, Birtsmorton in the Malvern Hills, Worcestershire.

Kevin Smith saw a cuckoo on the 23rd of April on the Fairlie Moor Road between Dalry and Fairlie, North Ayrshire.

Andy Gardiner heard a cuckoo in Penicuik, Midlothian.

Jim Leadbetter heard a cuckoo today on the Balquhatstone Estate, Slamannan, Falkirk.

He said, “First time in at least three generations,that a cuckoo has been this close to the village. Usually only heard over the peat moorland between the villages of Slamannan, Avonbridge and Shieldhill areas.

Susan Lambden heard a cuckoo today at 5:45 pm on farmland in Inverkeilor, Angus.

Michelle McGowan heard a cuckoo in Tarbet, Scourie, Argyll and Bute.

Bridget Hone heard a cuckoo at 10:00 am today in Crackington Haven, Devon.

Amy Hollier heard a cuckoo in Tarbert on the Isle of Harris.

Mark Ellis heard a cuckoo in Lochbay, Waternish, on the Isle of Skye.

Douglas Reade heard a cuckoo today at Barnwell Country Park in Oundle, Northamptonshire.

Liz Royall heard a cuckoo at Denver Sluices, Norfolk.

P Gray heard and saw a cuckoo in Cornamona, County Galway.

Jenny heard a cuckoo today at Graffham Campsite near Petworth, West Sussex.

Zena Saunders heard a cuckoo today in Knockholt, Kent.

Andie Whyman heard a very loud cuckoo today in the village of Longthorpe in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire.

Peter Newman heard a cuckoo today at Little Dixter Farm, Northiam in the Rother Valley, East Sussex.

He said, “First this year clearly heard but not seen. We have had three in past years in the Rother Valley between Newenden and Bodium :)”

Mark Anderson heard a cuckoo calling for 2 minutes this morning in Wokingham, Berkshire.

Guy Westgate heard a cuckoo calling at 1:00 pm for 3 minutes in Dorking, Surrey.

George Campbell heard a cuckoo at Essendon Golf Club, Hertfordshire on the 15th of April.

Stephen Spencer heard a cuckoo today in Little Paxton, St Neots, Cambridgeshire.

He said, “Heard my first one of the year at 10:55 a.m., alongside the river Great Ouse, Paxton Pits area heading northwards…”

Sylvia Drinkwater heard a cuckoo today in Knowle, West Midlands.

Denis Cooper heard a cuckoo today in Maidenhead in a garden quite close by for about 30 seconds.

Anna Hoysted heard a cuckoo today in Chandlers Green in Mattingley, Hampshire.

She said, “Heard him at 10.45 this morning. Stood under the old ash in the middle of my wood where he was. Impossible to spot, even with binos. Spent half an hour trying to see him, but just impossible! Hopefully later this evening, if he alights on half dead ash tree across the field. That is where I have actually spotted him (and offspring) for the last 50 years! Usually arrives on St. Tibertius Day, 14th.”

Mr & Mrs Freemantle claim to have heard a cuckoo at Fishlake Meadows nature reserve in Romsey, Hampshire.

They said, ” I took a video of the area and if you listen carefully to the first few seconds you can hear the cuckoo in the distance. It was much clearer to listen to naturally.”

Unfortunately, although we can hear the sound of a wood pigeon or collared dove we can’t hear a cuckoo in the attached clip.

Annette Pashley Batty heard a cuckoo today at Stonehenge Cursus, near Pentridge, Dorset.

Julia Ridout heard a cuckoo today in Cuddington, Buckinghamshire.

She said, “We’re in a small village surrounded by farmland in the valley of the Thame (tributary of the Thames) and the cuckoo is a regular feature of the later spring and summer here, but this is the first time I’ve heard it this year. Seems a little early, but perhaps not with the lovely spring weather we’ve been having the last week. This was early morning, about 5.30 and it flew over the house and garden.”

Karen Davenport heard a cuckoo on the 17th March in Nefyn on the Llŷn Peninsula in Gwynedd.

She said, “My friend and I both heard the cuckoo – which we thought was incredibly early. It was very much distinct.”

It is indeed still a bit early.

Pam Todd saw a cuckoo today in Cleethorpes Country Park.

Ken Fullegar saw and heard a cuckoo today in Swanmore, Hampshire.

He said, “Unfortunately I have not got a picture but clearly saw and heard the bird calling from the top of my neighbours birch tree.

“This is the earliest that I have seen or heard a cuckoo especially as a lot of birds are still nesting.

“I have a large wild garden area and many birds nest here including robin, wren, blue tit, tree creeper, sparrows, blackbirds, wagtails, bullfinch, chaffinch, goldfinch and thrushes regular visitors include pigeons, collared doves, starlings and woodpeckers both green and common.”

It’s a shame he didn’t get a picture because it means we’re still waiting for photographic evidence of these very early cuckoos.

Tim Lux heard a cuckoo today at Dunson Nature Reserve in Pancrasweek, Devon. He said it was also heard by his brother-in-law who was with him at the time.

Wendy Blank said she heard a cuckoo this morning while out walking her dog in the village of Slapton near Kingsbridge in Devon.

Libo heard a cuckoo today in Bekesbourne, Kent.

She said, “First cuckoo this morning sunny day east Kent. Across fields hearing cuckoo towards the woodland side of the landscape. Surrounded by larks at same time.”

Ian Toner saw and heard a cuckoo on farmland in Ardleigh, Essex.

He said, “Hello i found it very early as norm into April but it was sitting in a Popular tree singing unfortunately no camera for a picture but tomorrow morning i will look again with camera….”

We really hope that Ian is able to take a picture and send it to us so we finally get evidence of a very early cuckoo.

Adrian Culling said he heard a cuckoo yesterday in Wigborough, Somerset.

He said, “Around 7am whilst cycling to work heard cuckoo calling 3 or 4 times in open mixed farm land & small wooded areas.”

Paul Bearman claims he heard a cuckoo today in Whixall Moss, Shropshire.

Ann Lunney said she has heard the cuckoo calling the last couple of mornings in Stokesley, North Yorkshire.

Sadaf said he heard a cuckoo in Shirley, Birmingham.

He said, “I heard the cuckoo today around 7:00 am. A relatively colder day with temperature of 3 degrees centigrade. It was for a short while.”

Janie said she saw a cuckoo in her garden yesterday in Nuneaton.

Jon Rolls says he heard a cuckoo today in Holyport, Berkshire.

Raymond Wright said he heard a cuckoo today in Red Lodge, Suffolk.

He added, “I heard the cuckoo today at about 10.00 am and this was confirmed by my neighbour. It does seem rather early.”

It is rather early. By about 2 months in fact.

Paul Cole claims to have heard a cuckoo today in Glatton, Cambridgeshire.

He said, “Very early for a Cuckoo, but I am 99% certain it was the distinctive call of a Cuckoo that I heard this morning.”

Michael Williams heard a cuckoo on Mynydd Drumau in Neath.

He said, “Out riding I heard a cuckoo in a wooded area. I have heard them many times before in this area, but not this early in the year. I am doubting myself though!”

It is of course far too early for cuckoos to have arrived back in the UK, so whatever Michael heard it wasn’t a cuckoo.

Amelia Gudger emailed to say she heard a cuckoo in Sale, Manchestery.

She said, “Around half past 6 in the morning I heard a cuckoo in the garden repeatedly for around 10 minutes.”

Denise Barritt said she heard a cuckoo today in Billinghay, Lincolnshire.

Kestrel

Jenny emailed us with some pictures of what she thought was a cuckoo spotted in Scarborough.

She said, “I saw a bird in the churchyard in Scarborough this morning and I’m wondering if it’s a cuckoo. It didn’t hover like a kestrel. It flew away and circled back a few times (possibly due to my disturbance) It caught something on the grass then flew with it up into a tree when it saw me and continued going at it there. I saw your article on the mystery of early cuckoos and thought this could be relevant.”

It may not have hovered like a kestrel but it is one. Cuckoos aren’t birds of prey so wouldn’t take food from the ground either. They mostly eat hairy caterpillars which don’t start hatching until late March which is why cuckoos don’t return to the UK until then when there’s enough food for them.

Phil Morgan heard what he believed was a cuckoo calling in Gowerton, Swansea.

He said, “Sat in a school classroom at time but it appeared to come from a wooded area a few 100 m away.”

Phil recorded the bird he heard calling and although it is faint it’s clearly a wood pigeon. You can hear what a cuckoo sounds like here.

Tracey Bourne said she heard a cuckoo thing morning in Scrane End, Freiston, Lincolnshire

She said, “9am this morning I heard it outside my bedroom window. I had my little window open and was reading in bed, so I heard it very clearly. It was cuckooing for about five minutes. We have a Cuckoo that visits the garden every year. But this is the earliest I’ve ever heard it. My garden has a lot of trees and shrubs. But is surrounded by flat fields. Just Up the road is the wash.”

Tim Raworth claims he heard a cuckoo today in Haterden, Hampshire.

Esther says she heard a cuckoo today in some trees high above a car park in Cavan, Cockhill in County Cavan.

David said he heard a cuckoo yesterday in Ballinasloe, Ireland.

He said, “I have heard cuckoos a lot. Even last month in January. I heard and I’m sure I saw the bird that was making the sound. But it looked nothing like the picture. It was brown.”

Oh.

Evie Gray claims to have heard a cuckoo today in her garden in Lambourn village, Hungerford.

She added, “No mistaking … several loud clear calls, I know what a cuckoo sounds like.”

It’s way too early for a cuckoo to have arrived back in the UK, so although Evie may know what a cuckoo sounds like, what she heard today wasn’t one.

Stephen Kirk claims he heard a cuckoo today at his home in Norwich.

Nora Howard claims to have heard a cuckoo in Coolroe More, Lyre, Banteer, County Cork

She said, “I was stunned this morning at 7.15-7.30 to hear very distinctive sound of the cuckoo outside my window. Could this be possible? I regret not recording it. Next time I will.”

It’s far too early for cuckoos to have returned from their wintering grounds of Africa so it probably isn’t possible. But we look forward to hearing a recording to prove us wrong.

Paul Faircloth claims he heard a cuckoo by the airfield in Clacton-on-Sea, Essex while walking his dogs.

Still no photo to prove beyond all reasonable doubt that cuckoos have started staying in the UK over winter.

CN Ross heard the unmistakable call of the ‘cuckoo’ several times in Cringleford, Norfolk. Sadly no picture, so we’ll going to have to assume he was mistaken.

Eric Siegel thought he was imagining it at first but for two days running he has heard a cuckoo calling in his garden in Norton near Worcester. On the second day he not only heard it but also saw it fly towards another tree, and then saw another join it so thinks it’s a pair.

He realises that it’s completely the wrong time of year but as far as he’s concerned he’s not hearing or seeing things. We are though.

Brian Calver claims to have spotted a female cuckoo with brown plumage and a striped fan tail in his garden in Whitchurch, Cardiff, hopping between a fat ball feeder and nearby hedges.

Unfortunately, he had no camera to hand so missed the chance to prove ornithological experts wrong and show that cuckoos can override their innate GPS and choose to stay in the UK instead of heading to Africa for the winter.

And we’re off! Nick Hyde claims to have heard a cuckoo on the 16th December in East Bergholt, Suffolk.

He said, “A truly surreal experience at this time of year. My reaction was one of shock & disbelief. To my friend: DID YOU HEAR THAT ???!!! We were both outside around lunchtime & heard several beautiful, loud, classic calls close by. I suspect climate change may be a factor but any information appreciated!”

Climate change is often said to be the reason for these mysterious early cuckoos, but nobody ever explains why climate change.

The simplest explanation of course is that it wasn’t a cuckoo. They’re still in Africa recovering from their long migration to their wintering grounds, stocking up on energy for the return journey in a few months’ time. If one had managed to somehow overcome its innate migratory programming and decide to spend the winter here, it would have starved to death as there are no insects available for it to feed on.

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