25th April 2017
So what exactly do Cuckoos and Brown-tail Moths have in common? The answer is APRIL!!!
In April the caterpillars of the Brown-tail Moth emerge from their nest which they spun last Autumn and start to feed on the vegetation, which coincides with the arrival of the Cuckoos from their wintering grounds. It also just happens that Cuckoos absolutely love the caterpillars and therefore, when they arrive on the coast where the caterpillars nests can occur in their hundreds, there is an absolute catterpillar fest.
I found this out last year at Heybridge Basin so set off this year at about the same time to see if it was a regular occurrence or just a one-off. A bit quiet to begin with, but then 3-4 Cuckoos appeared and eventually offered some photo opportunities along the sea wall. The first shot is a group of caterpillars that have left their nest and have gathered on the bough of a tree waiting to be eaten.
In the next two shots you can see some caterpillars on the branch just to the left of the Cuckoo, with their nest in the background.
Cuckoos are now getting scarce, sometimes difficult to hear, and even harder to see, but this annual event makes it a whole lot easier.