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Corncrake or Pheasant?

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Old Monday 22nd June 2020, 15:40   #1
oakwoodbank
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Corncrake or Pheasant?

The main reason for joining this Board today is to try and find out the answer to a question that I have not managed to gain elsewhere.

First though let me say that I have caused a bit of controversy in north Wales by my report that a corncrake has been nesting in my garden and has produced two broods. That is a long story but wildlife websites tell me that corncrakes have not been sighted in north Wales since 2015.

So, to the question; do pheasants still call when sitting on the nest with hatchlings?

As an aside; can anyone contribute to this matter of rarity of corncrakes in north Wales?
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Old Monday 22nd June 2020, 15:44   #2
Andrew Whitehouse
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Welcome to BirdForum. I would certainly say that Corncrakes are rare in north Wales and, as far as I know, they don't normally breed there. In Britain they only regularly breed in western Scotland with perhaps a few elsewhere. They may occur more generally as migrants but those mostly go undetected. Corncrakes are really hard to see. If you can see these birds easily, I would say that means they're not Corncrakes.
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Old Monday 22nd June 2020, 15:47   #3
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What colour were the chicks? That's the simplest fairest approach to reaching a conclusion, but as suggested above if you've seen any of this activity at length in the open/with relative ease it is probably pheasant.
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Old Monday 22nd June 2020, 16:04   #4
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A male pheasant will continue to occassionally call whilst the female incubates the eggs to answer your question.
A pair of Corncrakes breeding and raising young in North Wales would be a remarkable modern day record.
One question back to you is how did you identify the sitting bird? Female and young pheasants regularly are misidentified as Corncrakes.

If a male Corncrake had taken up territory near you, its rasping call through the night would have stood out and been noted.

Unfortunately I think your nesting bird was unlikely to be a Crake. I'm guessing photographs and sound recordings to substantiate your claim are not available
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Old Monday 22nd June 2020, 19:17   #5
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Corncrakes

Quote:
Originally Posted by LowellMills View Post
What colour were the chicks? That's the simplest fairest approach to reaching a conclusion, but as suggested above if you've seen any of this activity at length in the open/with relative ease it is probably pheasant.
------------------------------------

Unfortunately, the hen was eventually pestered by a crow that also nests in my garden. I believe all nine eggs hatched (one was blue - I wondered if this was due to a simultaneous mating with a water rail that could have been nesting on water near by —this was the second clutch of eggs that she had hatched - none of the first brood survived a far as I am aware). I think that either the crow eventually got to some of the chicks or the hen took them away to a safer area. After she left, I have not heard any corn crake calls.

She sat on them all day including after they were hatched. They only left the nest after dark. That meant that I did not see the chicks as I knew that if they were black, they would be corncrakes.

The hen had a corncrake call, but this was generally only a dual double note call (like the one on this video but not as incessant ).


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ibUsXObZhEg



She did not have any characteristics of a pheasant and there was never a male pheasant in sight during the three weeks on my observations.

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Old Monday 22nd June 2020, 20:28   #6
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Nothing but adverts when I click the link I'm afraid. A lot of variables and behaviour I'm not able to correlate, so hope others can offer an answer.
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Old Tuesday 23rd June 2020, 06:59   #7
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Well thats definitely a Corncrake on the clip.

The Common Pheasant call is like this: -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcBixpb5TdI
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Old Tuesday 23rd June 2020, 11:05   #8
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corncrake goes click click click all night long and is really annoying if you are camping near one.
(having had that pleasure on a climbing trip to the isle of Mingulay in the outer hebrides)

did you hear that kind of noise at night? Hard to miss

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Old Tuesday 23rd June 2020, 11:43   #9
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If you had heard a Corncrake you wouldve known ... Its unmistakeable ...and as for the "blue" egg in the nest i have found duck eggs dumped in pheasant nests which explains the water nearby theory ... my mortgage is on Pheasant
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Old Tuesday 23rd June 2020, 13:29   #10
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Why isn't size mentioned? That surely would be a determinant.

A hen pheasant dwarfs a female corncrake, a light pheasant is over 5 times as heavy as a heavy corncrake.
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Old Tuesday 23rd June 2020, 15:45   #11
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Forget all this science. It’s not a Corncrake. Sorry to be so blunt about it.
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Old Tuesday 23rd June 2020, 17:16   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Runcorn Birder View Post
Forget all this science. It’s not a Corncrake. Sorry to be so blunt about it.
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Old Tuesday 23rd June 2020, 17:46   #13
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I can't believe that these birds have been in your garden for 3 weeks (or more?) and you cannot present us with any photographic evidence!

Sorry - but there's nothing here to suggest Corncrake to me.
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Old Tuesday 23rd June 2020, 17:54   #14
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Porupine or pineapple?

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Old Wednesday 24th June 2020, 14:19   #15
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With all due respect to the original poster can this thread not be moved somewhere more appropriate as it is generating more heat than light imo...

Laurie
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Old Wednesday 24th June 2020, 14:41   #16
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Sorry if this is some more gasoline over the fire:
- corncrake chicks are black, while those of pheasant are like this
- water rail eggs are not blue (they're buffish with darker spotting)
- given the number of fantastic events occurring simultaneously: corncrake nesting in Wales, then nesting in a garden (!), raising 2 broods, 1 blue egg, water rail laying blue eggs, water rail laying egg in a corncrake nest in a garden in Wales, 2 broods hatched but colour of the chicks not conclusively recorded, etc... I'd apply Occam's Razor principle and simply accept Pheasants are nesting in your garden (which is actually cool!).
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Old Wednesday 24th June 2020, 15:18   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rollingthunder View Post
With all due respect to the original poster can this thread not be moved somewhere more appropriate as it is generating more heat than light imo...

Laurie
Such as where ? What would your preference be? I would have thought a bird identification sub forum was the place to start for a new member. The OP had warned us the claim had caused controversy in Wales.

Rafael, you forgot the mating with a Water Rail whilst paired, what a hussy? Chicks hatched and left the nest during night time

Claim remains unproven for the time being.
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Old Wednesday 24th June 2020, 15:32   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PYRTLE View Post
Such as where ? What would your preference be? I would have thought a bird identification sub forum was the place to start for a new member. The OP had warned us the claim had caused controversy in Wales.

Rafael, you forgot the mating with a Water Rail whilst paired, what a hussy? Chicks hatched and left the nest during night time

Claim remains unproven for the time being.
Hi Pat. This thread was in the Rare Bird Forum. I’ve since moved it as per Laurie’s suggestion.

Rich

For what it’s worth. I think it’s more likely that it’s a pheasant’s nest.
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Old Wednesday 24th June 2020, 15:39   #19
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Okay, makes sense. Thank you both. My apologies Laurie.
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Old Wednesday 24th June 2020, 16:32   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RafaelMatias View Post
Sorry if this is some more gasoline over the fire:
- corncrake chicks are black, while those of pheasant are like this
- water rail eggs are not blue (they're buffish with darker spotting)
- given the number of fantastic events occurring simultaneously: corncrake nesting in Wales, then nesting in a garden (!), raising 2 broods, 1 blue egg, water rail laying blue eggs, water rail laying egg in a corncrake nest in a garden in Wales, 2 broods hatched but colour of the chicks not conclusively recorded, etc... I'd apply Occam's Razor principle and simply accept Pheasants are nesting in your garden (which is actually cool!).
Pheasant x Water Rail, is that even a thing, this is starting to smell like a wind up....
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Old Wednesday 24th June 2020, 18:06   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RafaelMatias View Post
Sorry if this is some more gasoline over the fire:
- corncrake chicks are black, while those of pheasant are like this
- water rail eggs are not blue (they're buffish with darker spotting)
- given the number of fantastic events occurring simultaneously: corncrake nesting in Wales, then nesting in a garden (!), raising 2 broods, 1 blue egg, water rail laying blue eggs, water rail laying egg in a corncrake nest in a garden in Wales, 2 broods hatched but colour of the chicks not conclusively recorded, etc... I'd apply Occam's Razor principle and simply accept Pheasants are nesting in your garden (which is actually cool!).
On the balance of probabilities I would say an Ocean Sunfish nesting in the eaves of his house is more likely.
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Old Wednesday 24th June 2020, 20:35   #22
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Jumping in on something where I have little actual knowledge, it sounds to me like the original post asked an honest question and replies that just disparage it are of little value. Assuming the original poster would like some actual evidence rather than just reiterations of probabilities, let me ask the following: if the actual nest remains in the garden (even if the birds are gone) could the nest provide a clear identity of its builder? I do not know much about the nests of Pheasants or Corncrakes, but if Pheasants are five times the size of Corncrakes surely they have larger nests, possibly of different materials.
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Old Wednesday 24th June 2020, 21:31   #23
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Corncrake interbreeding with Water Rail?! Water Rails are almost as difficult to prove breeding as Corncrake!! Methinks someone is having a larf - file under 'forget it'!!

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Old Wednesday 24th June 2020, 22:18   #24
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I hope that I dont putting more gasoline into the fire, as my aim is to provide an alternative explanation.
When I read all the comments the following thoughts came to my mind:
I have never heard of a "wild" Pheasant to breed in a garden, but I know that Quail (-species) are often kept.
So, why not an escaped Quail (-species)? I believe a male "Pheasant", of whatever species, would have been recognized as such, even by a novice birder (no offense!)

Quail (Coturnix coturnix), exotic Quail-species or "hybrids" are regular kept as pets or for "own-family-home"-egg-production. I have heard, that its relative easy (dont have experience with it) and the eggs are supposed to be more healthy (less Cholesterin than "normal" eggs). I dont want to open a discussion about this (I dont have experience). I just want to argue, that it is regular, that someone in your neighborhood keeps them.

Please note, that "domestic" Quail can (often?) call differently to the ones we used to hear in the field. Let alone the exotic species and "variants". There are lots of videos on youtube:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xe8dqS3x-dI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2luxOY8KTk
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRbqqhNbokA

Colour variants are regular among those Quail-eggs. And while its possible to have a differently coloured egg in a nest from a "wild" species, I suspect this to happen more often in domestic Quails. As I have no own experience with this suggestion, but this came to my mind, I did a quick google-search:
https://www.vogelsberger-wachtelzuch...ction-ssc?c=34

https://www.wissenschaft.de/umwelt-n...de-wachteln-2/

I hope that I am not taking this thread away, as it might also, that Rotherbirder is right, but as others has said, it seems not fair to the OP to just take his question not seriuosly: I remember the story years ago when a farmer calling the staff at the bird observatory on the island of Hiddensee, that he has a vulture sitting on a carcass near his farm. Which provided everyone with breath taking vues of a (guess what?) Bearded Vulture!
See the record here: http://www.limicola.de/fileadmin/use...t2001_2005.pdf
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Old Thursday 25th June 2020, 05:57   #25
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I've heard of several people with large rural garden have Pheasants breed in them in England & sounds far more likely than any exotic quail species. I wouldn't necessarily expect the male to be in attendance either.
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