SOUNDS OF NATURE – Cuckoos are calling

June 5th 2021

Sounds of Nature Project

This Project is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Scottish Natural Heritage

SOUNDS OF NATURE – Cuckoos are calling

The Field Club’s Sounds of Nature Project was inspired by a chance encounter in May 2019 between two Assynt Field Club members and Clive Davis who was holidaying in Assynt. Clive, who is a member of the Wildlife Sound Recording Society, was making sound recordings of birds, etc. in the area.

The mental health benefits of listening to bird song and other sounds of nature have been well reported.  Our website is by necessity very visual, both with regards to images and words. The main aim of our project therefore is to make the site, and hence Assynt’s wildlife, more accessible and meaningful for those with a visual impairment.

More information about the project along with links to other recordings can be found on the website’s Sounds of Nature Project page

SOUNDS OF NATURE – Cuckoos are calling (David Haines, June 2021)

It almost seems like a competition. Come mid April many conversations in Assynt start with the question “have you heard the cuckoo yet?” A “no” response tends to lighten the moment, at least as far as the asker is concerned!

Sadly, although the first ‘yes’ is still generally on or around the 18th there is a general consensus that we are hearing less Cuckoos compared to years past. Bird monitoring schemes certainly confirm this, in Britain at least where the Cuckoo is now on the Red list due to breeding population decline and breeding range decline.

‘The cuckoo comes in April, sings the month of May, changes its tune in the middle of June, and in July he flies away.’ There are many variations of this old rhyme, but it is basically true as the birds start their return autumn migration to Africa from early June.

That rhyme was also used in the song “April Come She Will”, albeit in a different context, by Simon and Garfunkel.

Enjoy these two birds, a male and a less obvious female, from Culkein Drumbeg and the variety of other passerines. Some of the cast includes Greenfinch, Robin, Dunnock and lambs. The constant munching sound is courtesy of one of the local ewes!

All photographs by D. Haines

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Recent Sightings

Golden-ringed Dragonfly (Cordulegaster boltonii)

Pair of dragonflies coupled in pre-mating flight, Culkein Drumbeg (DAH) (18/06)

Brimstone moth (Opisthograptis luteolata)

Single moth flying in trees, Culkein Drumbeg (DAH) (18/06)

Pied Wagtail

Adult bird feeding two juveniles, Culkein Drumbeg jetty area (Steve and Carol Langford) (17/06)

Cuckoo

Single male bird flying in front of car for a few seconds near Rientraid (DAH) (16/06)

Grey Wagtail

Single bird near bridge over Allt na Ghamhna (DAH) (16/06)

Jackdaw

35+ birds, Elphin (DAH) (16/06)

Barn Owl

Single bird hunting, Culkein Stoer (Carol Langford) (15/06)

Heath Speedwell

Nine plants along the side of the Leitir Easaidh path at Little Assynt (Charlie Leeson) (14/06)

Map