SPRING UPDATE APRIL 2017
“We all know how random nature can be in some respects- from one year to the next we never know if we’re going to have a hard winter, or if the grouse population is going to do well or if the heather will have a good flowering. So it always surprises me how close the migrants come to arriving on the same day every year. Apparently regardless of whatever else is happening.
So every year they arrive back in the same places, virtually at the same times and nearly always in the same order.
First come the Green Plovers (heralding the Teuchat Storm going by local folklore). They are followed by the Oystercatchers then the Curlews. Not long after them come some of the smaller species like Pipits, Wheatears and Stonechats. The Ring Ouzels usually follow them by a week or so.
And so it goes on. By now, we’ve nearly got the full compliment but as always there are the last few who are ‘dragging the chain’. Any day now I’ll see the first warbler, then the Sandpipers will appear in their droves and I’ll nearly always see the first osprey (an infrequent visitor to this estate even after their arrival back in the area) before I hear the cuckoo.
The cuckoo (or gowk as he’s known in these parts) almost seems to realise he’s late and tries to make up for lost time. After you see him once, he suddenly seems to be everywhere and his trademark call goes on and on……..and on.
At this time of year, gamekeepers can be doing some pretty antisocial hours. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve had the gowk calling incessantly from the tree outside my window while I’m desperately trying to catch up on some sleep.”