Friday, 13 May 2011

460 miles for a Corncrake 19 miles away... - Holyhead, Anglesey - 13th May 2011

I never posted about my trip to Morpeth on the 17th November because it was so depressing! We twitched the Squacco Heron that died overnight (the night before we went). I never thought I would experience a day like that again. 13th May 2011 decided to have a go at the title of the worst twitch ever!
I set off at 07.22 for a summer-plumaged Spotted Sandpiper in Milton Keynes which was present on the 12th. When I got to Milton Keynes, I got a text off Chris to say that the bird had not been seen today...gutted! A wasted journey and a waste of a lot of money!!
I decided to turn back straight away and within 15 mins, I got a phonecall off Mr. Bridge regarding a Corncrake that had been found by the legend, Ken Croft, at South Stack and it was calling. I should have stayed in Bangor!
I got back to Bangor at 14.30 and then onto Holyhead by about 15.00. As soon as I got off the Station at Holyhead, It started to rain. I literally thought that Mother Nature was taking the mick as there really couldn't be much more in the day that could go wrong. If there was a weather that would make the crake hard to see, it was rain and wind. Sadly, both of these were present when I arrived on site (very wet indeed)
At 16.19, I was rewarded with the wonderful sound of a Corncrake calling in a field...unmistakeable! From 16.50-17.40, the bird called ever 10 minutes, literally on the dot. I managed to catch a very brief (albeit educational) view of the bird at 17.20 when I saw the bird calling from the grass.
This is only the second bird I have ever seen, after I saw a bird in flight on Iona (Mull) in 2006. This was the first time I have ever heard a Corncrake in the flesh!

Although, when I woke up on the 13th May, I was 19 miles from a Corncrake, I travelled 460 miles to see the bird....mad!

It was a tortuous day, but a Corncrake in North Wales more than makes up for it!


Pete Woodruff said...

A sad story in more ways than one Zac.

Whilst I readily accept and appreciate what drove to you all this, I honestly have to agree with your word three lines from the end of your post....mad!

Keep up your interest in birding its good for the soul.

Alex.H.J said...

Sounds like something Bridge would come out with... I never realised you were quite a twitcher too and was even more suprised when I realised Bridge wasn't with you!

Shame the Sandpiper moved on, it was a crackin' bird looking at the pics and dare i say it.. i'm sure they'll be more depressing twitches like that one in the future! all part of the fun! Well done on the small glimpse of the Corncrake you saw, I hear of a lot of people who went and hadn't seen it at all! Nice one!