BLAGDON LAKE BIRDS

Corn Crake



Corn Crake Crex crex (Linnaeus, 1758)

Corncrake Crex crex (Linnaeus, 1758)

(Extremely rare PM. More common in early 20th century.)

  1. One, arrival date, 12th April 1927 (C. Tuckett, R.P. Gait).
  2. One, arrival date, 1st May 1928 (F.R. Willcox).
  3. One, arrival date, 4th May 1929 (C.R. Stonor).
  4. One, no details, 11th June 1936 (W.C. Taunton).
  5. One, no details, 7th May 1949 (B.J. Bailey, M.J. Wotton, R.H. Poulding).
  6. One, shot, 27th October 1951 (B.S. Kennedy-Brown per N.W. Moore).
  7. Two at least, craking, 5th June 1953 (B. King). See note 1 below.
  8. One, craking, 27th May 2003 (I. Stapp, sound recording made).

Note 1: "Craking heard, May and June 1953, at… Blagdon" (Som. Report). "Calling heard, both ends of BL, Jun. 5" (B.K., Bristol Report).

The earliest reports of this species at the lake that I have found so far were made by Donald Carr in the 1907 Report of the Wells Natural History and Archaelogical Society (incorporating the first report of the Mendip Nature Research Club). He wrote "Summer visitor, nests here."

I've found three arrival dates for Corncrake in the late 1920s, so assume that it was a regular visitor, though it's not clear if it was just a passage migrant or still a breeding bird in those far off days.

"Two, near Butcombe" recorded by, Butcombe resident, Rosemary Lovell according to the Bristol Bird Report, 1962. Given this statement, I can't include it in the lakeside records unless more information comes to light about just where they were heard or seen.

Probably the most amazing phone call I've ever taken was one from Ian Stapp on 27th May 2003 when he played me back a recording he'd just made of a Corncrake singing in the hay meadow at Bell's Bush, almost 50 years to the day since the last record at the lake. The remarkable thing was that he was still standing beside the meadow. Many local birders gathered that afternoon and evening hoping to see and hear the bird before it moved on, but it was neither seen or heard again.

Bibliography (sources of information)

  1. Blaythwayt, Rev F.L. (ed.). Report on Somerset Birds, 1927. Somersetshire Archaeol. & Nat. Hist. Soc.
  2. Blaythwayt, Rev F.L. (ed.). Report on Somerset Birds, 1928. Somersetshire Archaeol. & Nat. Hist. Soc.
  3. Blaythwayt, Rev F.L. (ed.). Report on Somerset Birds, 1929. Somersetshire Archaeol. & Nat. Hist. Soc.
  4. Blaythwayt, Rev F.L. (ed.). Report on Somerset Birds, 1949. Somersetshire Archaeol. & Nat. Hist. Soc.
  5. Davis, H.H. (ed.). Bristol Bird Report, 1962. Bristol Naturalists' Society.
  6. Davis, H.H. (ed.). Ornithological Notes Bristol District, 1949. Bristol Naturalists' Society.
  7. Davis, H.H. (ed.). Ornithological Notes Bristol District, 1951. Bristol Naturalists' Society.
  8. Davis, H.H. (ed.). Ornithological Notes Bristol District, 1953. Bristol Naturalists' Society.
  9. Davis, H.H. (ed.). Somerset Birds, 1953. Somersetshire Archaeol. & Nat. Hist. Soc.
  10. Lewis, S. 1955. The Breeding Birds of Somerset and their Eggs. Arthur H. Stockwell Ltd., Ilfracombe, Devon.
  11. Rose, H.E. Dr (ed.). Avon Bird Report, 2003. Avon Ornithological Group.
  12. Stapp, I. pers. comm.

Updated 13 June, 2013