Cuckoos increasing, Is there hope ?

31st May 2012
This 2012 Spring has seen an obvious increase in Cuckoo numbers in the Brecon Beacons. Birds are being reported from all over, two separate sightings from seasoned local patch recorders have both recorded seven birds together in one area. Reports of two and three birds in an area are common. Earlier this week I was out birding on a beautiful evening up on a local mountainside. The air was still and everywhere was bathed in the golden sunlight of a warm spring evening, one of those evenings which make you glad to be alive.
I could hear male Cuckoos calling from a couple of areas, echoing across the valley, a real sound of Spring, I then saw a Cuckoo flying past which began a soft bubbling call, a female, she flew out of sight, however, this sparked a frenzy of activity from no less than three males all flying around together. One bird flew off probably trying to find the female while the other two began a territorial battle. I know from experience that when this happens these birds become preoccupied and this can lead to them perching closer than they normally would.
The Cuckoo is a very shy and unapproachable bird and will fly off at the slightest disturbance, therefore, you have to be very measured in your approach to photographing them. There were a few isolated trees in the area and they like to perch whenever they can, so I sat and waited until the action came closer, they were flying from tree to tree pecking at each other and making a variety of noises.
At last one bird landed on a hawthorn bush reasonably close, I got up slowly, the bird was looking in my direction but seemed settled, the sun although getting quite low was just falling on the bird, illuminating him in a warm glow.
I made slow measured movements and was able to take a few shots before the other bird came back in and it all started again. It was quite a spectacle and a privilege to watch.
Lets hope this year is the start of a resurgence in numbers of these lovely birds.
Please see Cuckoos, Shrikes and Waxwings.