Machair is the name of a unique coastal landscape found mainly on the northwest coasts of the British Isles. Some of the best areas for this are in Uist, off the Northwest coast of the Scottish mainland. Machair consists of sandy soil formed of crushed seashells and lies between and among the sand dunes on the coast. It provides an ideal environment for spring wildflowers, and the long grasses, irises and wildflowers provide the nesting ground for a large number of birds.
The Corn Crake (Crex crex) is one such bird. These birds, once quite prominent in the UK mainland are now rare. Changes in farming practice have reduced availability of the long grass/iris beds in which they like to nest. Male birds call out for females during nesting season; they call day and night, but dusk seems to be a particularly active time.
This recording was made around 1am at Ardavachar (Aird a’ Mhachair), North Uist.
There are several birds at work here; at times they seem to almost synchronise (or perhaps alternate) with each other.