The day actually started all wrong. The nets were frozen. Yup, almost the end of May and the nets are frozen at 6 AM. This was more than your run-of-the-mill hoar frost. This was ICE. In pretty little balls about the size of a chickadee’s eye, and all holding the nets closed tight. It was a nightmare to open them – I finally resorted to pouring hot water on them. Oh yeah, I could have waited – but then I would have gotten up at 5 AM for nothing! And this was the first morning in a week without wind.
And then it got better. One of the first birds in the nets this morning was this lovely and not-often-seen black-billed cuckoo. These birds are more often heard than seen. A little later in the morning, there was also a yellow-billed cuckoo in the net, but not very well and it escaped before I reached it.
I haven’t handled a cuckoo in probably 20 years, and had forgotten how simple and beautiful they are. No gaudy colors here, no flashy marking, just plain brown above and creamy gray-white below. Long tail – and a relatively big bird – and yet to handle them, there is almost nothing to their size. They are slender and slight, with most of them tail.
Life is good.