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PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2004 4:04 pm 
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Now it is April again, it will no doubt only be a few days before the Indian Cuckoos are heard again.

Anyone want to offer a bottle of wine for the first person to hear one? Naaah, people would only cheat.

Anyway, it would be interesting to hear of the first record of spring. Remember, they are the ones with the four-note call - there is a sound clip further back in this thread

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2004 4:11 pm 
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I'm sure I heard one in Hung Shing Ye either yesterday morning or the previous one. Though I may just have been sleep deprived and delusional (those middle of the night baby feeding sessions).

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2004 11:03 am 
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Hmm, the gentlemen of the records committee would probably put a question mark beside that one, but it may well be the first record. You realise there is no bottle of wine, though?

Whatever, they are certainly back now. Having just returned from ten days in UK, I had a jet-legged sleepless night to confirm that these creatures actually do go on all night long, not quite continuously, but pretty much.

What a difference 10 days makes. It was cold when I left - anyone remember what cold is?

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 20, 2004 11:37 am 
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zep wrote:
Something like that!

Now after this heavy rain it looks like all the other performers are going to be muscled out by the bullfrogs. Anyone else lucky enough to be living next to water pipes where the bullfrogs congregate to get extra resonance?

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Me!!

Start from last Tuesday night but there're fewer songs these nights. Wanna grep one from the swamp next to my flat. :twisted:

Do they eat mosquitos?


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2004 1:53 am 
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Returning to Hong Kong after ten days away in April, the difference was dramatic - warm weather and cuckoos everywhere. Now returning to Hong Kong again in July after ten days away, the silence is deafening - no more cuckoos. Maybe they take the lengthening nights as their cue to move on.

Now it seems to be the black drongos that are everywhere, noisy and conspicuous. For migratory birds, that often means they are getting ready to leave, so maybe they are on their way out too. They've probably finished their hard summer slog hatching out Indian Cuckoo eggs and feeding their chicks.


Last edited by zep on Wed Apr 04, 2007 9:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2004 2:52 am 
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R u sure the drongos are migratory - seems I have an ever present pair in the garden

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2004 8:35 am 
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There are two species which are very similar in appearance. The black drongos appear in spring and stay for the summer. Just as they are arriving, the hair-crested drongos leave. Black drongos are slightly smaller, fly differently, have a deeper fork in the tail and a different call - a squeaky jumbled call with something of the quality of a kid (sorry "child") rubbing a balloon at a birthday party. The hair crested drongos arrive in autumn, and love to hang out around the red flowers of the coral trees. If you catch them in the sunlight they have a distinctive greenish irridescence , and the tail is flatter, with the end flicked up at an angle (I'm not making this up!)


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2005 9:16 am 
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It's "that time of the year" again. Heard the first Indian cuckoo this morning, 7th April. You'd better get used to that four note call repeated ad nauseam, because your going to be hearing it night and day for the next couple of months.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2006 12:52 pm 
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Just back from Germany (like last year) so missed the start of April, so don't know when the cuckoos first put in an appearance, but they are certainly back now, in full voice night and day.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 01, 2007 8:34 am 
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With apologies to Robert Browning:

"Oh to be in Lamma, now that April's there
And whoever wakes in Lamma
Hears cuckoos everywhere
In daylight, darkness, pouring rain
One sound infuriates the brain:
The Indian cuckoo's four-note tune
In Lamma - soon!"

Yes, following Samson's "that time of the month" it's now "that time of the year" again. In the first few days of April the Indian cuckoos return to Lamma, and there will soon be a backdrop of that four-note mantra day and night - annoying or exhilarating according to taste.

As usual, I'm offering a bottle of Lammagung's best wine to the person who hears the First Indian Cuckoo of Spring.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 02, 2007 9:50 am 
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Has anyone got a record of their arrival dates in recent years? And, this might be a silly question, but do they winter in India?

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 03, 2007 9:16 pm 
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My money's on April 8th, based on last year's arrival. Does anyone have a photo - I've only seen these birds flying high while calling.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2007 8:59 pm 
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Just looking back through records - unfortunately I wiped most of them when changing computers.

Last year I was out of Lamma in April, so don't know. In 2005, I recorded April 7th (see this thread). In 2004 I saw what looked like an Indian cuckoo on April 4th, but it was silent, so hard to rule out other species. I was also out of Lamma for the next couple of weeks so don't know when the first call was. In 2003 it was April 8th. You can also see a web image earlier in this thread on page 1.

Where do they go? Not a silly question. I assume they winter in tropical south-east Asia - Indonesia and Philippines - the books are rather unhelpful on this, but the range would suggest this.

April 8th sounds like a reasonable guess for the first singing cuckoo - let's keep our eyes and ears open over Easter.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2007 8:40 pm 
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Well, April 6th has come and (almost) gone, and there have been no signs or reports of any Indian cuckoos, so no records will be broken this year (unless one appears and starts calling before midnight, which is unlikely, because they usually don’t start calling for a day or two after they arrive). But I’m sure we won’t have long to wait.

Meanwhile, another species of cuckoo, the koel, is in good voice, with that persistent, far-carrying “coo-EEE” often starting well before dawn.

Yet another species of cuckoo arrived a few days ago and has been calling since then - it is the Plaintive Cuckoo (Cacomantis merulinus), a small, brownish cuckoo with a call of around 7 notes, the first one highest, and gradually getting faster and lower pitched until it tails off into an asymptotic descending jumble. Here is the only picture I have managed to get yet. Just after this picture was taken, the bird flew on to a wire just a few metres from me, and I was just about to press the shutter when the autofocus shot back to infinity, so this is the best one I’ve got. So it’s is a challenge to others to get a better shot - I think you will agree that I have set the bar pretty low - but the hard part is actually locating the bird. Although they are easy to hear, they stay hidden and motionless for long periods, and are very difficult to get a clear shot of.

Image
Plaintive Cuckoo (Cacomantis merulinus)


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2007 8:50 pm 
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Zep, never heard of a plaintive cuckoo - is it a parasite and if so of what species? I believe the Indian cuckoo goes for the black drongo, but is that exclusive? And how many species of cuckoo are found on Lamma?


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2007 9:53 pm 
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Yes, according the book (the Birds of Hong Kong and South China) it parasitises tiny tailor birds. There is another called a large hawk cuckoo, which gives a distinctive three note call, with the stress on the second one.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2007 10:12 pm 
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7th April - still no Indian cuckoos. Enjoy your sleep.

Someone at HKBWS today posted the photo of a plaintive cuckoo that I had hoped to capture yesterday - see:

http://www.hkbws.org.hk/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=1988


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2007 8:56 pm 
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Now 8th April, and the silence is deafening...


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 08, 2007 9:29 pm 
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I hope your beloved Indian cuckoos start up soon; we are beginning to worry about you. Besides, the suspense is killing me.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2007 7:31 am 
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April 9, Easter almost over, and still no cuckoos!

What's the world coming to! It's the end of Lamma wildlife as we know and love it! It must be due to Global Warming, for sure!!!!!

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