Monday 10 July 2017

Crex Crex -at last!

For the rest of the trip I was content to bird locally around Jurmala / Dzintari. Knowing that we were heading into the summer doldrums I did not have high expectations. I went around the local reserve of Leilupe one evening and either heard or saw most of what I have come to expect there – namely Great Reed Warbler, Marsh Warbler, Garden Warbler, Common Rosefinch and Red-backed Shrike.
I was just getting back in the car at around 9.30pm when I thought I heard a distant "crex crex". I sat and listened for five minutes before hearing again. Right so, then maybe this time I might finally get to see a Corncrake?
I managed to locate where the bird was singing from but the meadow was at least knee high so chances of seeing it would be neglible. Still, I would at least try. 


At one stage it was calling from the long grass within a few feet of where I stood. It kept coming closer and closer to where I was. I was hoping it might emerge from the edge of the meadow and cross the narrow path I was on before slipping back into the long grass on the other side. That would be my only hope of seeing it. I got down on one knee in case it caught sight of me. Then to my amazement a line in the grass starting moving directly towards me, a bit like the ripple-line a fish's dorsal fin makes as it breaks the surface of the water. Then suddenly the Corncrake emerged, climbed across my bent knee, realised with a start what I was, flew over my left shoulder with his wings brushing my face, back out across the meadow, feet dangling and dropped back into the long grass and out of sight! 
So, almost forty years since I first heard a Corncrake, now at last I had finally seen one. In fact I had not just seen one, I had been caressed by one!

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