Corncrakes on Skye

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16th October 2013


Our annual summer corncrake survey picked up 38 calling males which is the highest number since these surveys started in the 1990s. Very many thanks to Skye Birds contributors and to those who gave me weekly reports of their local corncrakes. The more information we have about the whereabouts of corncrakes the better we can protect them and promote their breeding success. Most of the birds were on the west coast of Trotternish but 14 males were calling on Waternish which is up on the previous 4 years. There were a scattering of reports from elsewhere on the island from July onwards. We had at least 4 sightings of both chicks and adults which was unusually high for Skye. The contractors, who cut the meadows for silage, also saw some corncrakes during mowing in September (all escaped!). Corncrakes generally have two broods each year, on average, the first in late May early June and the second in July. However, research carried out this year on the Coll showed that the average laying date of the second brood was 2 weeks later than normal. We won’t know the effect of this until we see how many corncrakes return next year. Nationally , the corncrake had not done so well this year with the overall count down by 23%.

My thanks again to all contributors and for the support.

Shelagh Parlane RSPB Corncrake Project Officer, Skye