Operation Corncrake

Searching for the ellusive Corncrake on Islay
With eighteen hours of road and ferry travel under our belts, my wife and I arrived at the beautiful Smaull Farm RSPB reserve on Islay.
Our mission, if we chose to accept it, was to photograph the elusive Corncrake.
Having witnessed Simon King searching for the Corncrake on the 2007 Spring Watch series I knew my mission was going to be a challenging one.
Several days had passed and the bird list was getting longer, we had seen Hen Harrier,
Choughs, Black Guillemot, Twite and Whimbrel but still no sign of the Corncrake.

However, we did hear it, every day in fact, and come to think of it every night as it decided to visit the cottage at 3.oclock every morning and sing for us, and I can tell you it is not the most melodic song to help you drift off to sleep. The good news was that Colin, yeah we named it Colin, seemed apt at the time, was very close to the cottage and so the camouflage clothing and equipment were being hastily arranged and set up outside the building.

Crex, Crex, Crex echoed from the tall foliage about 25 feet away from me, but I still could not see Colin…and then he made an appearance. I carefully snapped away and
even managed to follow him around the cottage to witness this canny bird playing hide and seek with a six foot Shropshire Lad covered head to toe in camouflaged clothing.
There are some images of Colin in the feathered friends Gallery.