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Travels in Ireland – Featuring the Corncrake

Travels in Ireland

Featuring The Corncrake


the corncrake jpg

Photo The Wildlife Trusts


I recently took a holiday Eire where I had some wonderful wildlife experiences which I would like to share with you
Has anyone seen or heard a Corncrake? Does anyone even know what a Corncrake is? Allow me to enlighten you – A Corncrake is a medium size bird, a little bigger than a Blackbird. Related to Moorhens, Crakes and Rails, the Corncrake is a Summer visitor and is famous for its repetitive song ‘crex, crex, crex’

Firstly, and most importantly, this bird is very rare indeed. Just like the Curlew their numbers have plummeted to such a critical level that they are unable to defend themselves against predators without our help. As ground nesting birds they are more vulnerable from foxes, badgers, dogs, cats, Crows, Kites and Ravens
The Corncrake was once common throughout the UK but now they can only be found in furthest corner of the west of Northern Ireland and some of the islands off the West Coast of Eire
This bird chooses to fly all the way from South Africa to breed here. A distance of some 3000 km. Once here it hides in deep marshy meadow habitat, sadly much of it has now been absorbed by modern farming practices. This furtive and secretive bird is rarely seen in its meadow habitat but you can’t say the same of its call! It is almost like the sound of some sort of bizarre electrical equipment. I have always wanted to hear one. And it was this year on the island of Inishbofin, in the very early hours of the morning, my long wait was finally over and I heard the Corncrake for the first time
May this bird continue to grace our wildest West Coast with its extraordinary cry. And may all the good work by The Corncrake LIFE Project continue, which encourages farmers to cut their grass or crops late, to allow the Corncrake to nest and fledge and lead to their critical numbers increasing

Athene English


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