After spending Saturday at Goose Pond I needed time Sunday morning finishing the IAS Spring Field Notes and submitting my BBS route data. Learning butterflies has been slow going since I haven’t spent nearly enough time to become proficient. So the plan was to spend Sunday afternoon working on butterfly ID’s at the local park. This became Butterflying Leading to a Black-billed Cuckoo.
Sunday afternoon about 3:30 found me walking the gravel road in the afternoon heat. The Butterflies of Indiana Field Guide states one of the best spots to observe butterflies is gravel roads. And even though it was slow the gravel road gave up a few butterfly photos.
Getting closer to the “South Woods” I hear a distant cuckoo calling from the woods. A Yellow-billed Cuckoo had been calling from the “Central Woods” immediately upon arriving. I wasn’t paying attention to the second one as I continued on trying to ID a bright yellow butterfly. The cuckoo keeps calling for several minutes. And it dawned on me.
It’s a Black-billed Cuckoo calling in the distance.
It’s definitely a Black-billed Cuckoo by the soft “coo-coo-coo” call. Continuing to chase butterflies the cuckoo continues to call as they do in the afternoon heat.
Checking my records this is the first Black-billed Cuckoo I’ve observed outside of May or September. I know they breed in the lower Midwest but I’ve never encountered one in the middle of the summer.
The bird was calling from deep in the woods so the opportunity to see it didn’t arise. I’m not sure I was aware Black-billed Cuckoos call in the heat of the afternoon like Yellow-billed Cuckoos. But it would make sense if they have the same habit habits.
On the other hand I’m not out often in the mid-afternoon heat so maybe I’ve been missing them. Butterflying brought me out.
It was a good encounter to hear a rather uncommon species. And like the end of the Long-billed Curlew a few days ago, you’ll never know what’s out there unless you look.