Thursday, 16 June 2011

Just got back from the Western Isles where I was doing another survey.  Due to using a new boat and some unsettled weather we had a bit of time during on Tiree, a new island for me.  It's pretty big vegetation was very limited at least in the area we walked and it is certainly turning up a few good birds even though I presume it must be very underwatched.  You can get there by regular ferry from Oban and with the car it must be worth a punt in autumn just look where it is, maybe not quite as far out as Barra but it scored a Parula so anything is possible.

Within a couple of hundred yards of the pier we heard our first Corncrake singing and picked it up very quickly walking along a bank at the base of a fence, it then walked right out in the open crossed the road and stood on the close cropped verge and sang again in full view!  We didn't see much else but after out meal in the evening we left the boat again and went back for another look and to attempt to photograph it.

When we got on site it was still singing but from deep cover and things didn't look good.  we were just off the road on some grazed grass with a slight height advantage over the irises and longer grass so thought we might get some views.  I think it's fair to say we weren't disappointed!

 Initially it was in thick cover but soon came out into more open ground and sat sunning itself and gave the occasional burst of song.  After it had been on view for about ten minutes it remarkably ran straight towards us and sang out in the open at less than 5 metres!  It then flew straight past us across the road, I honestly could have touched it as it went past.  It then walked around distantly in the field before flying back across the road and passing Bill even closer than it had me!  It landed 100 metres away and running back towards us in short burst in between feeding and singing a few times totally unconcerned that at times we'd been as close as a few metres from it, brilliant.  Eventually it wandered off back into the thick irises.  I see Corncrakes fairly regularly at Spurn so they aren't the mythical beast to me that they are to some but it really was an amazing experience to be afforded such stunning prolonged views of such a scarce bird.


Jack Ashton-Booth said...

WOW, all STUNNING especially 2nd from bottom.......I've never heard you talk so romantically about a bird GCT.I think the west has made you soft...I can't talk!

Fair Play to you buddy, beautiful stuff! well worth the verbal poetry

Secret Twitcher said...

Yorks Lister, would it be possible to have your email address to ask you a couple of questions about your survey work?



Nice Crex shots Garry. I'm moving to Tiree in a few weeks time after 7 years here on Coll. Hoping my wildlife tours business will do even better there. Give my love to Yorkshire.
PS Any chance of sharing links