Festival of Gowks

Discussion of sightings in and around the Chorley area.

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Jed Kirkham
Buzzard
Posts: 103
Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2018 2:24 pm

Festival of Gowks

Post by Jed Kirkham » Tue Jun 04, 2019 6:10 pm

Yesterday evening stroll up to Great Hill summit and back, 1945 to 2220hrs.
House Sparrows are doing well around the garden, +10 inc juvs. Pair of Bullfinch too. Walking up through the woods: Chaffinch, Wren, lots of Jackdaws, Song Thrush singing, Woodpigeons, Blackbird, Several Willow Warblers, Great Spotted Woodpecker heard, Oystercatchers over, Blue Tit, Robins and Nuthatch + juvs becoming noisier again after a few weeks of relative quiet. Goldfinch near the top of Well lane, and a male Stonechat too. A plethora of Pipits Meadow on the moors, plus many Skylark too. 2 Kestrel hunting. Pheasant and Carrion Crow.

250 m from top of Well lane heard the first Gowk "cuckooing" away from Heatherlea woods at 2015hrs. 20 mins later heard a 2nd Gowk in the trees near top of Dean Black Brook opposite Drinkwaters. He cuckooed on for over half an hour then as I descended Great Hill saw him being chased by a Meadow Pipit across to Drinkwaters. An agitated Curlew at Great Hill Farm too, and another about 500m N of the White Coppice path junction.

2150hrs near top of Well Lane heard a male Gowk again 100m right, in trees by Ratten Clough. Immediately a female responded with a burble from trees to the W of Well Lane 150m to the left. The male shot out of the trees flying low and directly towards me, made some hissing click noises as it sped by about 3 to 5m away, meeting up with the female, both of them briefly rising from the trees then descending - and likely breeding. 5 mins later heard cuckooing from behind in the tree by Whittles Farm at top of Well lane, and a minute later back in the trees at Ratten Clough, including some cackling - no doubt a satisfied male. The female looking for Meadow Pipits and/or Willow Warbler nests today?

At least 3 Gowks (2 m 1 f), possibly 4? Plus almost certain breeding...

Couldn't top that show - despite trying for a Woodcock roding show in the woods, none appeared.

David Beattie
Peregrine
Posts: 1557
Joined: Thu Sep 14, 2006 8:26 am
Location: Clayton Brook

Re: Festival of Gowks

Post by David Beattie » Wed Jun 05, 2019 7:34 am

I've never seen or heard the word Gowks before today ???

Neil Southworth
Little Egret
Posts: 4604
Joined: Thu Sep 14, 2006 2:57 pm

Re: Festival of Gowks

Post by Neil Southworth » Wed Jun 05, 2019 10:16 am

Common Scottish dialect for cuckoo, David. It also means idiot or simpleton, which is a bit unfair on cuckoos because they must be fairly smart to get others to do all their child-rearing!

Neville Root
Raven
Posts: 589
Joined: Sat Jun 07, 2014 2:51 pm
Location: Chorley

Re: Festival of Gowks

Post by Neville Root » Wed Jun 05, 2019 5:37 pm

I had to check what a gowk was as well. I recommend this book "All the Birds of the Air: The Names, Lore And Literature of British Birds", as it has loads of info on regional\localised names for birds (nothing beats the Cornwall name for a wheatear though)

Jed Kirkham
Buzzard
Posts: 103
Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2018 2:24 pm

Re: Festival of Gowks

Post by Jed Kirkham » Thu Jun 06, 2019 2:05 pm

I'm no Little Englander but I do like using and introducing the Old English or pre-Norman conquest/French-Latin names for things. I grew up in Carlisle and we still use many words which are unknown in Lancashire. Also: Spuggy for Sparrow, Cushet for Pigeon - don't know the origin of these...

Thanks Neville for your recommendation. I also admit to reading "Mrs Moreau's Warbler" by Stephen Moss, fascinating.

And I much prefer Whitars for Wheatear.

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