Date: 11/10/17 6:23 am From: Fred Vir <avtrader...> Subject: [JERSEYBI] Corn Crake pleasant and unpleasant thoughts and pictures
It was an unusual and somber moment for twenty of us to see the male Corn Crake on Thursday laying still within steps of the shoulder. In a circle, we quietly looked down as if Charlie Brown's Christmas tree was at our feet. When viewed a few days before in drizzle, the animated, ardent traveler possessed a charismatic presence. It darted around and adversely sensed any person 50 feet away who moved too quickly.
In contrast the bird seemed unaware of the speeding traffic only 15 feet away. I noted in a cautious and veiled sentence here that the bird was unaware of the hazard. I have seen shrikes, hawks, owls, rails, coots, crakes and flufftails fly low and slow as they moved about. The traffic was to the immediate south and the runway inadequate for any crake thinking of moving towards African-like latitudes.
Sensing the shocked mood as we all stood there a bit confused I blurted out some hopeful news. "We will all likely get another chance to see a crake again". The Corn Crake population has had a substantial resurgence in the United Kingdom and Western Europe due to targeted conservation efforts. There are now several hundred pairs where there were none just a few decades ago. Countering the hundred year trend of decreasing New World records there have now been two recent records in 20 months in the Mid-Atlantic (PA 1/2016).
Leaning over I touched the bird's chest to gauge the time of its demise. The slightly warm temperature pointed to a recent car encounter. There was a small amount of blood on a leg and another person noticed the broken leg after picking up the bird.
At the Museum of Natural History they found the legs and pelvis to be broken and the bird to be underweight but the pectoral muscles not atrophied.