Spotted Crake at Eakring Flash September 2001
The area's first ever Spotted Crake, delighted well over 200 admirers during it's lengthy stay, frequently showing for lengthy periods at a time. It's residence from August 16-September 15th, makes it the longest staying of any Nottinghamshire Spotted Crake.
  The initial sighting was just a very brief view of a Crake-like bird diving into thick vegetation. Immediate thoughts were of a Spotted Crake and a short-while later, identification was confirmed when the bird came back into sight, giving excellent views at a distance of 50 metres.

Moving to a view point nearer the southern end of Eakring Flash, enabled much better views down to around 20 metres. Here, plumage details allowed the bird to be aged as an adult and very probably a female, with the grey around the head being paler than that expected on a male.

Despite being a very rare county bird (this was the first Notts record since 1995) a Spotted Crake was not an entirely inconcievable occurrence at Eakring Flash. Habitat requirements are met with here, with copious amounts of waterside vegetation and a shallow waters edge available. Perhaps what may have surprised many people, was the fact that such a small area of water could attract a Spotted Crake in the first place.

The Spotted Crake in Nottinghamshire

Spotted Crake was first added to the Nottinghamshire species list in 1863. During the 1800's, a further nine records are listed. One of these relates to 20 birds shot at Nottingham Meadows in 1881.

Following a gap of nearly fifty years, Spotted Crakes again were found in the county, with three birds at Stoke Bardolph in 1944. This was the only record of that decade. The 1950's produced five records, three of which were from Wilford in consecutive years. A single sighting in 1968 preceded a healthy set of occurrences during the 1970's. A bumper year was 1976. Attenborough produced records on two February dates, then three, possibly four birds on November 7th. Singles were also noted at West Burton (September 30th) and Martin's Pond, Wollaton on October 29th.

The last 20 years has seen the Spotted Crake become a much rarer find in the county. Just three records occurred in the 1980's and only one in the 1990's. The Eakring record (Nottinghamshire's 31st) proved equally as popular with birders as the Attenborough bird in 1995. Most records have come from Trent valley sites, most notably from Attenborough Nature Reserve, but the occurrence here, may yet go on to encourage investigation of some of the other more unfashionable sites elsewhere in the county.
    Photographs by kind permission of Iain Leach
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