Corncrake, Crex crex, rail, bird, scotland, uk

Corncrake (Crex crex)

The Corncrake (Crex crex) is a notoriously difficult bird to see. When we visited the Outer Hebridean island of North Uist in May this year, off the west coast of Scotland, this was the one bird I wanted to find above all others, having never before seen one. We were advised that the RSPB reserve at Balranald was our best bet. As we drove slowly along the entrance track, windows wound down, we kept hearing the distinctive call of the Corncrake ‘crex! crex!’ but we could not see one (as a side point, is the Corncrake the only bird that calls out it’s latin name?). At one point I was convinced that a Corncrake must have been right next to the car, it’s call was so loud, and it seemed impossible that it was not in view! Exasperated, it took us 3 separate visits on different days before finally one individual showed itself well enough for me to take a few photos. Possibly the most infuriating bird in the world??!

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