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Cuckoo has birders pouring into Watsonville

Posted: Thursday, Oct 4th, 2012

Visiting birders are showing up in Watsonville in large numbers with an array of sophisticated gear. (Photos by Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian).

WATSONVILLE — Birders continue to pour into Watsonville in hopes of seeing the now famous common cuckoo that made its premiere appearance at Watsonville Slough Friday.

With the onslaught of tourist, city officials have now called for the Nature Center at Ramsay Park to stay open seven days a week, instead of two, to serve as a convergence hub.

“We have become the cuckoo headquarters,” said Michelle Templeton, Wetlands Program Coordinator for the City of Watsonville. “People are coming in almost constantly and we are here to help them find the bird and learn about our slough trail system and about Watsonville. A lot of people from around the states are telling me how much they like the area and what a gem of a birding location Watsonville is. It’s like watching Watsonville become famous.”

The cuckoo, a 13-inch tall orangey-brown bird with a short beak and dramatically long tail, was spotted by local birder Lois Goldfrank Friday near the end of Ford Street. Thus began a tidal wave of Internet communications around the birding world and an ever-widening migration of enthusiasts to the central coast. Watsonville marks only the second sighting of a cuckoo in the lower 48 states. The common cuckoo is common in Europe.

Pat Bacchetti said she drove down from Oakland and was lucky to get a clear photograph of the cuckoo Tuesday.

“It’s not a long drive at all,” Bacchetti said. “It’s worth it. This is huge news for birders. Now, I just hope my friend whose flying in from Chicago gets here before it flies off.”

For the complete article see the 10-04-2012 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 10-04-2012 paper.

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