By Michael McHugh 13:57 Thursday 16th of June 2016
The first corncrake recorded in Donegal this year was confirmed in Ballyliffin on the 24th of April. Corncrakes begin to arrive in Donegal in April from their wintering grounds in south-eastern Africa, a journey of 10,000 km. The birds seek out tall vegetation such as nettles or flag iris early in the season to conceal themselves until there is enough growth to move in to the meadows.
The male does all the calling to advertise his presence to females and warn off intruding males from his patch. He has a distinctive ‘’Krek Krek’’ call which can be heard around dusk and will continue throughout the night until dawn. The corncrake is a shy little bird which nests in tall vegetation on the ground. They have two broods with the first hatching in June and the second in July/August. 8-12 brownish cream eggs with brown spots hatch in 19 dyas and chicks are unable to fly until 5 weeks old.
The NPWS corncrake conservation project will continue this year with a census carried out between 20 May and 10 July to count all the calling males. The project also offers grants to farmers to delay cutting and corncrake friendly mowing through its Corncrake grant scheme.