Saturday, 13 June 2015


As a photographer as well as birder you have to patience, for some this doesn't come easy. This year i have already met birders who have no patience, these are mostly twitchers who have dipped on a bird after a long journey.

Living in Shetland you can normally react fast to a new bird. Some show themselves quickly others hide away. The corncrake in the south mainland was very showy, well to some, but not in my case. Some went down to the south mainland and saw the bird within 1/2 hour, it took me 8 visits and 8.5 hours to finally get a view which was a relief.

I heard the Corncrake calling on numerous occasions, sometime very close but it didn't show. On the occasion it did I heard it calling then it moved to a new location before showing among tall vegetation. I was in the car (it wouldn't show if you stood close) but after a number of photos I had to move the car as i was blocking the road.

When I turn round and got back to the singing area I saw it fly off landing on the other side of the bay. I headed round and came across a bird singing well away from where i saw the bird land - was there two birds?

I also found out that at the same time another Corncrake was calling from a village close to where we live. I have come across calling Corncrakes on four other occasions, two in the south mainland and one 10 miles north of Lerwick but these didn't show. One of these pointed out by Bill Oddie who was up on holiday.

Outside Shetland I have had Corncrakes calling all night while camping on the North West coast of Scotland, and visited Coll the Corncrake capital with many calling birds.

Farmers are now given grants for delaying cutting and also cutting in a way that allows the Corncrakes to escape rather than boxing them into the middle of a field. In addition to these birds a couple of quail have been heard calling from farmland.

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