Corncrakes on the Isle of Iona, Scotland


On this years holiday to Scotland, 2016,  we returned to the Isle of Iona, they say if you visit once, you will visit at least three times, this was our third visit 🙂  I have posted loads about Iona…….. Iona is a small island in the Inner Hebrides off the Ross of Mull on the western coast of Scotland. It was a centre of Gaelic monasticism for four centuries and is today renowned for its tranquility and natural beauty.

This trip was not about the Abbey, this time we wanted to explore the island a little.  My husband, Steve, had read about mermaids tears and wanted to see if he could find some.  This involved walking to ‘The Bay at the Back of the Ocean’, but that is for another post, this is about what happened on the way.  Magic happened, something that I never thought I would see, we had heard the noise on Iona before and on the Isle of Coll, but we had never seen a Corncrake before.  They make a sound like a, sort of…….. crake crake noise, you hear them, but never see them……until the day we visited for a third time, magic because we saw three.


I only managed to get photos of two, the third was on the way back, nearer the village.  All three ran across the road in front of us.  I was so lucky that my camera was in my hand.  Husband suddenly shouted, quick start shooting, which I did, some are not as clear as I would like, but to see something that you have never seen before is just amazing, it just made the day even more beautiful.  Sorry there are so many photos, but I treasure each one of them 🙂  One thing I did notice was their very long legs, I took photos of the information board, so that you can read a little about these amazing birds.










DSC_0530 - Version 2

DSC_0530 - Version 3

May 2016


  1. Lucky you to get these great images. Seeing three such birds must be a record. Am sure any country or ornithology magazines would be interested in the story and picture/s from you. Haven’t heard a Corn Crake since I was a child, and that’s a long time ago! On a trip to the Hebrides four years ago, saw a sign pinned to a roadside picnic table in Skye asking people to report seeing or hearing Corn Crakes in the area. Seldom seen or heard in Ireland nowadays, like the Bittern, which seems only to be mentioned in two poems, one in Irish . . . “An Bunán Buidhe” and the other in English, Francis Ledwidge’s lament for Thomas McDonagh . . . “He shall not hear the Bittern cry in the wild sky where he is lain” etc. Congrats!

    1. Thank you, we have heard a lot, but only on Iona and Coll, sometimes they sound so close, but we had never seen any until that day. They are such beautiful little birds and its lovely that they are on the increase on both islands. Yes we were very lucky 🙂

  2. How exciting! Pretty bird until it runs .. Most say I laughed at the photo where it is running,fifth photo up from the bottom. Looks funnier than a chicken! 😄 Enjoyed learning about them though as I have never heard of them before.

    1. Ha ha it does look like a very thin chicken, the feet are like a chickens. It did seen like it had to take a good run to take off 🙂 But it was lovely to see the bird after hearing it for so many years, Glad you enjoyed it 🙂

  3. Wow, well done for these pics, Lynne! How lucky you were! I know just how elusive these little guys are. You were there at just the right time, before the grass gets too long. Love the way the wind is ruffling his feathers! They do have very long legs, good for standing tall and croaking, I guess! 🙂 So glad you made it to Iona. Looking forward to more pics!

    1. Yes we were very lucky, it was wonderful to see them. They were being very vocal, and as you say normally hidden by the tall grass, although they were hiding in the Irises. I would love to see them bloom, all the islands must look such a picture when they do 🙂

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