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June 29, 2017 – Black-billed Cuckoo

This morning Ingrid went to a photography class at Boothbay’s Coastal Botanical Gardens, so I had headed to Great Salt Bay Preserve for some early morning birding.

I arrived at 6:00 and for the next hour and I a half I had the place to myself and a plethora of birds.

A House Wren greeted me with loud buzzing and a little singing.

The Red-winged Blackbirds, for their part, were not happy to see me, and a handful of females took turns dive bombing me. Obviously, their nests were nearby, and I got away from the cattails as quickly as possible.

The grass/hay meadows are now waist high and filled will Bobolinks, both genders, and their singing was deafening.

As I explored the hedgerow in the middle of the preserve, I observed a maelstrom of Warblers (Yellow, Common Yellow-Throat, Redstarts, and a Chestnut-sided), a Catbird, Cedar-waxwing, the Blackbirds and Bobolinks . . . all making quite a racket. But through it all, I kept hearing a low croaking, too high for frog, and moving.

Ducking back into a hole in the hedgerow . . . I saw what I thought was a catbird, until I caught the red in his eye . . . a Black-billed Cuckoo . . .A lifer!!!

The Cuckoo was kind enough to pose for me, and I watched him for 10 minutes, getting some great photos. Finally, I left him in peace . . . although he did not seem stressed or the least bit concerned with my presence.

In the spring of 2016, Ingrid and I got a Yellow-billed Cuckoo; it was nice to get its cousin today. Both the Yellow and Black are secretive birds, often heard but rarely seen. They winter in South America.