I decided to take Toby for his morning walk to Hockham Forest with a view to making for Hockham Fen for the Marsh Harrier I found there yesterday. Despite the rain, it was pleasantly comfortable for walking, although the mosquito's had their fill from my bare legs.
After a lengthy wait at one of the gates to Hockham Fen, I caught a glimpse of a Harrier rising up from willow scrub, after a further wait, a Marsh Harrier (male) came into view and hunted low over the reedbeds and rushy grassland, it then continued to be seen on and off during my visit. Quite unlike the female of the species, this male Marsh Harrier is identifiable by its tri-coloured wings of white, brown, and black, a creamy crown and nape, brown mantle and diagnostic silvery white tail. During my observations of the Marsh Harrier, it was mobbed by both Common Buzzard and Hobby.
Whilst overviewing Hockham Fen from this gate, 2 Crossbills flew over and Treecreeper was heard. A small number of about 6 Teal occasionally sprung from the ground, possibly disturbed by the Marsh Harrier.
I then decided to relocate from my current position to another gate at Poor's Allotment, in order to overview another large area of Hockham Fen, this proved to be a good move.
Whilst overviewing the fen, I noticed a bird alighting in a dead, lone, Silver Birch, the bird appeared rather long-tailed, which raised suspicions. Rather than view the bird through binoculars, I located it in the camera lens and to my amazement it was a juvenile Cuckoo.
|Cuckoo (juvenile) on Hockham Fen, Norfolk 05/08/13|
|Cuckoo (juvenile) Hockham Fen 05/08/13|
The juvenile Cuckoo is a brown bird with white fringes to its feathers giving it a scaly-like appearance. The long brown and white tail can just be seen in the picture. Another juvenile feature seen on this Cuckoo was the presence of white patches on the nape area.
A further check of the Cuckoo showed it had moved on.....to continue its long southbound journey to Africa.