Going Cuckoo

Film this fascinating red-listed species


An amazing opportunity to observe and film a rare and captivating bird: the Cuckoo. We'll film this species as he sings, feeds and explores his territory. If we're really lucky, we might even catch him showing courtship behaviour and mating! We'll also explore the Washburn Valley for other species such as Woodpeckers and Flycatchers

Cuckoo, filmed with a client in 2021

The wildlife experience

Starting early in the stunning landscapes of the Washburn Valley, we'll visit a special location to observe and film the elusive Cuckoo. We'll aim to capture the bird perching, singing, feeding and in flight. If we're lucky we'll catch some courtship behaviour, where the male will wag his tail. As a brood parasite, Cuckoos will typically be mobbed by the species whose nest they lay their eggs in, and we'll be able to watch them interact with Meadow Pipits and capture the spectacle in slow motion.

After a good session of filming we'll take a break and begin the process of reviewing the footage you've shot. I'll guide you through an approach to selecting your best film clips and then building them into a narrative and an eye catching short film. I'll send you the finished edit of your Cuckoo movie at the end of the day.

If time allows we'll also spend some time in the mixed woodlands of the Washburn valley, with a chance to film some great species such as Pied Flycatcher, Spotted Flycatcher, Redstart, Great-spotted Woodpecker or Treecreeper.

Throughout the experience I'll be on hand to provide my guidance and expertise for filming and editing. I'll take care of the technical aspects of using the kit, so you can concentrate on enjoying the wildlife and capturing amazing shots of these characterful birds. The Washburn Valley is a great area for watching birds and we'll have a good chance of seeing other species such as Tree Pipit, Wheatear, Curlew and Buzzard. There's a good chance of seeing Snipe displaying and even hearing them drumming, always a special wildlife watching moment!

As with all Film Nature experiences, we'll take things at an easy pace. It will be an opportunity to enjoy our wonderful British wildlife in a relaxed and fun environment.

This day-long experience is a little different to Film Nature's other Cuckoo based experience, Totally Cuckoo, which is hide-based and only a half-day. Please drop me a line if you'd like to discuss which experience will suit you better.

This experience will suit anyone interested in filming wildlife. You don't need any prior film making or bird watching expertise to enjoy this day.

Practical stuff

  • This experience will require some walking as we explore the Washburn Valley, and we may cover a couple of miles with lots of stops for filming and birding

  • There will be some gentle hills. There will also be some sitting and standing around while we film the birds

  • This experience is suitable for over 18s only

  • Check the Terms and Conditions before booking

  • It's vitally important to stay COVID safe and comply with whatever guidelines currently apply. This will be discussed at the start of the day.

What's included

  • 1 to 1 guidance and tuition for the day

  • Top of the line phonescoping equipment to film and edit the birds

  • Your finished Cuckoo film ready to take away, share, or post on your social media

Male Cuckoo, with Meadow Pipits

What you need to bring

  • Wellies/boots - paths can be muddy

  • Waterproof clothing - we'll be sitting still some of the day, so bring some warm layers and waterproofs just in case! Please avoid bright colours. If its a scorcher, don't forget your sun hat and sunscreen!

  • Binoculars if you have them

  • Face mask and hand gel if needed

  • Packed lunch

  • Drinks

Location and timings

  • We'll meet at around 07:00 in the Washburn valley. Exact location will be provided on booking.

  • We'll aim to finish by around 14:00, but if the opportunities to film are good and the weather is kind we may stay out longer

The elusive female Cuckoo, scoping out a Meadow Pipit nest

Nature and the weather can be unpredictable

  • Please note that this experience may be cancelled at short notice if necessary. If the weather forecast is looking poor, we will not go ahead

  • This experience is highly dependent on access to the birds we will film. These are wild birds at the mercy of the rest of the ecosystem. Please be aware that we may need to reschedule the dates at short notice, or seek out alternative species to film

  • Always check for email or SMS updates the night before an experience, and if you'd like to get in touch at any point please do so

  • If we are unable to proceed for any reason, Film Nature will offer alternative dates and/or experiences. In the event of a complete washout we can offer priority booking for next year!

Supporting Conservation

I believe strongly in supporting the rare and scarce wildlife that we have a privilege to observe and film. Ecotourism can provide a significant building block in saving our threatened biodiversity. £30 from every Going Cuckoo workshop will go towards active conservation work within the Washburn Valley to repair and boost biodiversity. I'll be delighted to tell you more about it on the workshop!


"Top day out, learnt loads and most of all spent time getting closer to wildlife."

James, Tripadvisor, rated: Excellent *****

"I can totally recommend it... A day to remember."

Kathleen, Tripadvisor, rated: Excellent *****

"Paul is extremely knowledgeable and has a very patient and easy manner."

John, Tripadvisor, rated: Excellent *****


I'm delighted to be able advertise these workshops at the incredible introductory price of £120! Choose a date to book in for 2022 from the list below, or drop me a line to arrange another time.

  • Going Cuckoo
    Thu 19 May
    Sold Out
    19 May, 07:00
    Location is Washburn valley north of Otley
    1 to 1 wildlife experience
  • Going Cuckoo
    Wed 18 May
    RSVP Closed
    18 May, 07:00
    Location is Washburn valley north of Otley
    1 to 1 wildlife experience
  • Going Cuckoo
    Thu 26 May
    RSVP Closed
    26 May, 07:00
    Location is Washburn valley north of Otley
    1 to 1 wildlife experience
  • Going Cuckoo
    Tue 24 May
    RSVP Closed
    24 May, 07:00
    Location is Washburn valley north of Otley
    1 to 1 wildlife experience
  • Going Cuckoo
    Sun 22 May
    RSVP Closed
    22 May, 07:00
    Location is Washburn valley north of Otley
    1 to 1 wildlife experience