Monday, May 25, 2009

Harbinger of Spring

THE cuckoo is supposed to be one of the first sounds of Spring, in the UK anyway. However, I don't actually recall ever having heard one. Until this week, when on a stroll around our lovely local pond there it was. Cuckoo! Cuckoo! Cuckoo! Over and over again. The sound carried across the whole stretch of water, which despite being called a pond is really more like a lake. (Of course, May is not the beginning of Spring, so it should be noted that these birds can be heard between March and August.) The cuckoo is also infamous for laying its eggs in other birds' nests, where the baby cuckoo boots the other residents out and is fed by its foster parent.

Also around the pond was a large amount of cuckoo spit, the frothy foam in which froghopper larvae live. Emma found this very interesting and kept trying to dig out the baby bug. I just wondered why it was called cuckoo spit. Turns out, the name is a reference to the time of year. The spit appears at cuckoo time.

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