Sunday, 9 May 2010

Crex crex

It seems bizarre to have a crekking Corncrake 2 metres from the car adjacent to a busy road. This was just one of 8 calling birds at the Nene Washes this evening. Three were clearly audible at once from the road just outside Whittlesey. With a possible 12 males back this year, the re-introduction programme is progressing but still short of the target sustainable population. I listened to one bird for 30 minutes, glimpsing its shape in the dark, as it called incessantly from the trackside grass and nettles. Earlier, a Spotted Crake had briefly ‘whipped’ in the wet sedgey fields managed specifically for it. Result!
The continuing cool weather is keeping the Snipe subdued, but the number seen clearly hinted at the importance of this site. The fields look in good condition, held back by the weather but full of waders. Around 10-15 pairs of Black-tailed Godwits revealed themselves, at least one with chicks. The supporting cast included several pairs of Wigeon, a Whooper Swan, a dozen Little Egrets, 2 Hobbies and 4 drake Garganey. The Garganey sat together on a pool by daylight but after dark made their presence felt more obviously, their rattling calls coming from all directions as they flew up and down the washes.

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