We could only just see over the neck high wall so were able to listen and take a few photos without perturbing the bird, which continued to call, despite the house owner mowing part of the lawn it was calling from. Every now and again a comedy head would appear through the vegetation and duck down quickly again, reminding me of the scene in Jurassic Park where the velociraptors do the same when hunting the appropriately named Bob Peck! The Corncrake moved up and down the garden and at one point came close enough for us to see the nictitating membrane over the eye and saliva on the mandibles, presumably required to lubricate the throat for that distinctive call, which is said to be given up to 20,000 times per night. The owner of the garden complained about the nocturnal racket but we agreed we would be quite happy to be crexed to sleep by this once commonplace but now very rare breeding bird.
10 months ago