Sunday, 1 June 2014

Iona - Corncrake!!!

A visit in August 2013 with Gemma proved to be Corncrakeless although we did have a brilliant day! I vowed to return at prime time and whilst maybe a bit later than that - hopes were high that I would score today?

One thing was for sure, I didn't need a packed lunch after this Tigh-na-Mara breakfast??

I watched as the entire population of Iona disembarked from the ferry? My back was urging me not to yomp with too much gear so I travelled light with the 100-400mm zoom.....

The back of the fire station is close to the Iona ferry terminal and a cert for Corncrake and at last two were rasping in the vicinity! Heard only was never going be enough however and if Corncrake was going to make the life list - I would have to work harder! A change of angle and viewing the reed bed on the far side at least gave me a momentary but tickable view of one!

It was not enough however and I made my way up the 'crossroads' where at least two were calling - one within 2 or 3 metres of the road!! But where.... Argggghhh!

Eventually, I sensed movement behind some Iris and there lurking behind the leaves - was another Iris - within the eye of a Corncrake!

It was still not enough though.....

I've got limitless patience in this kind of situation and eventually.... patience paid off as this individual emerged from the correct side of the Iris :-) Yay, I was nearly happy now!

 And then something unexpected - something Corncrakes don't normally do! It emerged into the meadow, framed by the daisies! OK,. I'll confess, I was quite happy now but where's the long lens when you need it!!!

I needn't have worried, as it came completely into the open some 10-15m away!

 Ever closer.....

Yessssssss :-)

 I suppose in the scheme of things, I couldn't really ask for more (and I didn't get any more as it skulked away - never to be seen again!) Rasping away, taunting me but now safe and secure.....  thinking back I realised why it's dangerous for a Corncrake to be out in the open?

My second sighting had occurred an hour or so previously when I was mystified by the brown 'creature' a Herring Gull was attacking in the distant meadow? It actually picked it up before dropping it and then I realised it was in fact a Corncrake!

 I have to be content with three Corncrakes SEEN in one day - two photographed and one of them quite simply (like the breakfast) more than enough :-)