Corncrakes on Skye 2023
05th May 2023
The Corncrake season of 2023 is officially open so please let us know if you see or hear one.
We received our first 2023 report of a Corncake on Skye on the 20 April – quite early in the season but not outwith the normal range. This signals the start of the summer survey so if you hear that distinctive ‘crex crex’ call, we would love to hear from you! Please let us know where and when you heard it by phoning or texting the number below or report to Skye Birds. If you get a recording, even better.
We need to keep track of where our Corncrakes are, partly for the official RSPB Scotland Annual Corncrake Survey which is used to monitor long term population trends, but also so we can offer support to local crofters who may be unaware that they have a Corncrake in their hay or silage fields.
One way we do this is through the National Heritage Lottery Fund Corncrake Calling Project where we provide payments to crofters to delay their mowing until the Corncrakes have finished nesting and to use the Corncrake friendly mowing technique which allows Corncrake adults and chicks to escape to the safety of the field margins during the mowing process. This is crucial to promote their breeding success and your reports really help.
Over recent years we have been tracking individual Corncrakes using their calls. From a recording of the call we identify different call patterns and monitor where an individual male is through the season. This can show where he is likely to have found a mate and bred, which in turn highlights key fields that can be protected during harvesting. Recordings on a mobile phone as a video or a voice memo (noise cancellation turned off!) work really well and are really helpful. If you would like more information on this project or how best to make a recording please get in touch.
Corncrakes are extremely rare and they, their nests and eggs are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981) so it is important that we don’t disturb or approach them. Best way is to keep out of the meadows and stay on the roads. Good luck!
Please contact Shelagh Parlane RSPB Corncrake Project Officer 07771545409 or Shelagh.firstname.lastname@example.org