Monday 18 June 2012
What a day! Yesterday evening I joined a small group of ringers from the DOPPS for some night Corncrake action. The target of the mission was to capture and ring as many Corncrakes as we could in the course of the night. The chosen area were the steep grassy slopes of Breginjski Stol - a mountain in the Julian Alps above Kobarid (in NW Slovenia).
We started at about 22.00 pm and finished at 03.30 am the next morning. I don't really remember, but in total we managed to catch something like 13 CORNCRAKES. There were several others we couldn't get (too far away in the valley) so the total of the singing birds was at least 20.
Three Corncrakes were actually recaptures - ringed in the same place last year. So it's nice to see they've made it back from Africa! As you can imagine twice the enjoyment for the ringers. The captures were made in a funny way and consisted of: 1) walking up really steep grassy slopes towards the nearest singing Corncrake, 2) blasting it with playback... then waiting and 3) catching it with a large fish-net when it came close enough (under our feet actually). This way I also experienced my first and successfull Corncrake catch and the bird in question is pictured with me in the last pic above.
As I said we finished at 03.30 am, slept a few hours and woke up to the sound of singing Tree Pipits at 06.45 am. After a quick breakfast we enjoyed some upland birding. Top bird here was the Rock Thrush. We got at least 5 different birds (nearly all were singing). Some Corncrakes were still calling well into the morning. Other birds included: 1 Common Quail (singing), Spotted Flycatcher, Yellowhammer, Bullfinch, 1 female Honey Buzzard, Skylark, Common Redstart, Whinchat, Red-backed Shrike, Rock Bunting and on the way back home also several Crag Martins.