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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Der Cuckoo im Wald... er, in Watsonville

Mob of thoroughly Cuckoo birders in Ramsey Park, Watsonville California.
In the middle of rather-late-in-the-year Spring cleaning, preparing menus and itinerary for oncoming house guests at Chez Claire, I was busy, busy, busy! Then it happened


One o'clock? Nope! A real live Common Cuckoo shocked the California birding community by showing up, unpresidented, unexpectedly in Watsonville. Well, you might ponder, no biggie - just a common bird. Well, it is called a 'Common' Cuckoo, but it's only common if you live in say, the Black Forest of Germany. The Common Cuckoo seldom shows up in North America, unless you include the far western Aleutian islands. So, as far as ditching my numerous obligations and preparations, did I really have a choice. Nope. So, after arguing with Don that there was no way I could possibly drive ditch my obligations to see a bird, did indeed ditch everything, hop on down to Don's place and we were quickly off to see our target lifer birdie.

When we finally made our way sleepy little Ramsey Park, it was literally awash with Cuckoo oriented birders. The bird, rather obediently, was present and my initial view of it was through the spotting scope of a stranger, who only too happy to offer me a peek at the bird. It rather looked like an exotic fan dancer of the 19th century, as it was enveloped in Sycamore leaves. The photos below - not great - were photographed with my old iPhone through someone else's spotting scope.

View of the Cuckoo through it's hiding place in a Sycamore tree.
I was thrilled to see the little bird, I can tell you, and I wondered if I had been alone and spotted it, would I have taken note of how different it looked? Such is the stuff of a birder's daymares - would I have noticed it was not a mourning dove. Well, probably, but there is always that nagging little doubt. AAARRRGGGHHH!  Be gone damned mental torture!

Not really as grumpy as it appears in this shot.

Don takes a victory walk after his viewing of the Cuckoo
For the truly curious, here are some better photos of the bird, here

We probably hung around the Cuckoo site around 90 minutes, then went off to view a Franklin's Gull at a nearby slough. Then, it was time for me to head back home and get on with Spring Cleaning.

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