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Tuesday, July 22, 2003
The return of the corncrake

It's the beginning of the summer silly season. You recognise it when journalists suddenly begin to dig up trivia masquerading as news. It’s like getting the Sunday Sport every day. There has been such a dearth of significant news of late for me to comment on that I was beginning to despair. However, I was delighted to hear that
The corncrake, a shy bird once widespread across the British Isles, is poised to set a tentative foot on the road to recovery.
Apparently, this bird is currently only to be found in any numbers in the Orkneys and Shetlands. It is therefore excellent news that its return is being encouraged. You can read more about the subject here.

Devotees of my exchanges with Mrs Trellis will have noticed that on 30th June I asked Mrs T for a suitable simile to describe Emily Proctor's voice. She obliged unusually promptly: 'Like a corncrake gargling with aqua regia,' she responded, with a touch of genius, by return.

It is rewarding to know that ornithologists are peeping over Mrs T's shoulder. Their immediate response is extremely gratifying
Phil Grice of English Nature said: 'Once the birds have been re-introduced, we hope to see the young corncrakes establish themselves...

We look forward to the day when the calling of this globally-threatened species is once again a familiar sound in at least one part of the English countryside.'
Fantastic news, eh? Many thanks, Phil. Tomorrow, as a follow up and in the interests of serious science, Josh will be giving instructions on how to get corncrakes to gargle with aqua regia.

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