The night of the 23rd June was given over to an island wide Corncrake survey, with some extra work on this (my) local recording area last night ( which was rather a waste of time in many respects due to weather!! ). The survey is organized by the local RSPB office, with the help of volunteers, to monitor the situation from year to year.
Not very long ago the population had reached quite perilous levels and there was very real concern about its future. Over the past three to four seasons this situation has reversed such that there is now a very healthy population with now possibly in excess of 80 birds calling. This season alone might yet demonstrate a 15-20% increase which is excellent news.
My reason for putting an entry in dedicated to Corncrake is simply to raise what are a series of fascinating points relating to the area known as the South Rinns ( the very south west of Islay ). For many years (very) small numbers of Corncrakes could be guaranteed in that area but the pattern seems to have changed. When I lived in the village of Portnaheven I could very often hear as I lay in bed a bird calling from its favourite territory within the village. Since then three or four birds seem to be present further to the north west up the Rinns with the "regulars" largely having disappeared. Things do change from season to season and, of course, birds don't call just because you need them to on the survey night!!!! . Further work might yet prove the situation to be different!!!!
After being quite brilliant weather for a period things could now best be described as " changeable".