17
Jun
13

A quest accomplished

Across the hay meadows of Iona this week we could hear Corncrake. Seeing them however was a different matter.

We had decided last autumn when we were in Canada that a break in Scotland during late spring would be good. I have always wanted to photograph Corncrake and the Scottish Islands are their stronghold. We therefore decided to stay at the south end of Mull so we could take the ferry to the island of Iona if the weather was suitable to try for the Corncrakes. A quest was born.

The problem was the vegetation was far too long. Yes we’d had a cold spring but in the last week or so warm sunshine and showers had brought on the meadows. The vegetation was over head height for a Corncrake. Plenty of crakes calling but very difficult to see let alone photograph.

Iona is an island steeped in religion. It has become a place of pilgrimage for both the religious and the curious. Priest after priest making the walk from the ferry quay to the Abbey stopped and asked
“Have you seen them yet?”
“Yes” was the reply “…but not well enough to photograph”
“I’ve been coming here for 30 years and not seen one yet” said one.
Great. The temptation is always there to go in close and wade into the field. This is a protected species. A bird on the edge of extinction as a breeding bird in the UK and therefore deserving of its schedule 1 status. It must not in any way be disturbed and to be fair who wants to photograph the arse end of a Corncrake as it jettisons to the other side of the island anyway. ‘Just let the bird come to you of its own accord’ I kept telling myself. I patiently waited on the road, peering over a stone wall towards one calling individual which was presumably still unpaired. Head shot after head shot with the bird hidden among buttercups was the norm.

Eventually at the end of the second day trying the bird did indeed come to me and I got a half decent photograph … the quest was accomplished.

The usual view.
Hidden Corncrake

The view eventually.
Corncrake

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2 Responses to “A quest accomplished”


  1. June 18, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    What a rare moment! I never saw one. Congratulations!


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