Thursday, 31 May 2012


You may remember that last year when we were here, we visited the RSPB Reserve - Balranald - several times, in the hope of seeing the elusive Corncrake. The Hebrides are a fantastic stronghold for this endangered little bird, with the crofters working alongside the RSPB to help ensure it not only survives, but flourishes here. The low intensive farming methods in place here help, as do the fact that the farmers on the machair use no pest control or herbicides, and their fertiliser is nutrient-rich seaweed, gathered from the shore. As a result of all this, at this time of year you hear Corncrakes calling all over the place - within the first 24 hours we were on the island we’d already heard several, and over the next few days that number grew…but in spite of patiently standing with binoculars trained on a patch of Iris for ages, still no sign of the little b……sweet little thing.

Yesterday, that changed. In fact, it nearly changed quite dramatically, as one ran out in front of the car. Our car. Right in front. Eeeek! Thankfully, we were going along rather slowly as we were just on our way out of the reserve, having been on a guided walk there, in part looking for - yes, you’ve guessed it, Corncrakes. I slammed the brakes on and pulled onto the side of the road - thankfully just wide enough here for two cars to pass, grabbed the camera, and managed to get several shots before he remembered that he was supposed to be elusive, and skulked off into the undergrowth.

We’re going on a Corncrake spotting guided walk on Monday evening - I wonder if we’ll see any more?!


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