BY LINDA STEWART – 17 JUNE 2014
The first corncrake heard on Rathlin Island in more than 15 years has fallen silent – after a helicopter landed in the hayfield where it was calling.
RSPB staff, who had been battling to lure the species back to Northern Ireland after it went extinct here in the 1990s, said they were "devastated" that the disturbance appeared to have scared off the male bird.
"Rathlin Island is directly on the flight path for birds returning to breed on the islands of Islay, Colonsay and Oransay to the north," Peter Harper from RSPB Northern Ireland explained.
"To hear there was a calling bird on the island was just fantastic news and the longer he stayed the more likely it was that we could have breeding corncrake on Rathlin once again."
The Belfast Telegraph revealed that the corncrake had been heard calling from an uncropped hayfield in late May.