Corncrake (Crek-Crek) aka: nutty noisemaker, fast running rasper, long legged bird of the little cornfield or croaker of the corn - as the Gaels would call them.

Iona Hostel is the perfect place if you want to see a Corncrake. Iona has been called ‘Corncrake Central’ and birds regularly nest near the hostel over the summer months. In fact, last summer a chick wandered into the hostel looking for its mum !

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Photo courtesy of Richard Wesley. See more of his photos here.

A much loved part of the traditional crofting landscape, crofters on Iona have gone to a great effort to encourage the wee birds back. It is largely due to them, in cooperation with NTS and RSPB, that bird numbers are increasing so dramatically. In less than 20 years numbers have gone from none to around fifty calling males.

The Corncrake watching season runs from Easter to early September, at which point they head back south to the warmth of Africa.

Uncontrolled access and potential damage to habitat and nesting sites have to be closely monitored and it is for this reason that I have erected a small Hide from which to view the birds. I regret we cannot encourage passing birdwatchers onto Lagandorain croft due to the above, but hostellers are very welcome to use the hide (speak to John) and it is also available for non-residents at a charge.

Visit the hostel blog here and find out about our new artist’s residencies here.