Late May 2020
Despite lockdown, or perhaps because of it, there had been a good range of bird species recorded from Norwich this spring. Corncrake was probably still one of the least expected, so when one was found calling at Thorpe Marshes it understandably caused quite a bit of interest. It is highly likely that it is one of the birds released in the Wensum Valley by Pensthorpe as part of their reintroduction project, albeit that still means that it is likely to have made the migration to Africa and back which is no mean feat. I hadn't twitched anything over the strictest part of the lockdown, and had also resisted going to hear a Quail in west Norwich a few days before, but the fact that it was on my patch made me at least want to go and hear the Corncrake (a few lucky people have seen it, but it doesn't seem to show with any regularity). In the end I went to Thorpe Marshes one evening, and after a nervous wait listening to the Grasshopper Warblers the Corncrake finally started calling. It seems quite settled, so who knows, maybe next year it will attract a friend?
I contacted Pensthorpe monitoring team just to check they knew about it, and one of the ringers in the project confirmed that they were assuming it was one of theirs. The publicity document states that in 2016 69 birds were released (32 males) and in 2017 it was 154 (68 males) but I haven't heard back about the number of releases in 2018 or 2019 - if you know then please get in touch as that would be useful background information.