Corn Crake

Crex crex


Doug Hitchcox
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eBird Checklist S20042382
Monhegan Island
Lincoln, Maine, United States
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Latitude and Longitude 43.7657, -69.3131 Map



Observation details

***MEGA | below is my report to the ME-BRC; currently (14 Jan 2017) in the second round of voting: "It is with much egg on my face that I submit this report of a Corn Crake I photographed on Monhegan Island (Lincoln Co.) on 5 October 2014. Thanks to Luke Seitz for reviewing photos uploaded to and spotting my error in misidentifying this bird as a juvenile Sora. Despite writing this report two years later I do remember encountering this bird. The bird was in the front yard of the house known as “Nigh Duck”, located at the end of Bates Lane. This spot is close to the school, on the east side of the island overlooking the north end of the harbor. (A photo of that yard can be seen here: A section of that yard is regularly mowed, keeping the grass short and making it a good spot to look for ground-feeding birds. On this morning a group of ~8 Northern Flickers were foraging in the cut grass and I noticed this rail darting across the back edge of the mowed area. It was only in view briefly; making quick passes across the yard before walking into the tall grass in the northwest edge of the yard and out of sight. I mistakenly identified this bird in the field as a juvenile Sora, the most commonly encountered rail on the island. My focus was apparently on overall color and not much else. I do recall questioning this bird again when I uploaded my photos and looked up Spotted Crake because Jeremiah Trimble had (optimistically) mentioned this species in the evening when we were listening to rails in the meadow the following evening. Despite that brief doubt, I kept this in my records as a juvenile Sora until Luke’s correction on 27 November 2016. I uploaded the photo with this record to my eBird checklist ( because I was sorting and deleting old photos on my computer. This is regrettably the only photo of the bird to survive that purge. I have no experience with young/first-winter Corn Crakes, having only ‘studied’ adults in field guides. Interestingly, only adults are pictured in Collins and Nat Geo, though a first-winter bird is depicted in Howell, Lewington, & Russel’s “Rare Birds of North America.” This single photo does show the typical black-centered olive-bordered feathers on the scapulars, lacking distinctive white edging that an immature Sora would show. Structural differences between Crex and Porzana can be seen: this crake being larger and longer overall, less ‘squat-chicken’ shaped as in Sora, though structure is hard to appreciate in a single photo. This may over-take my Trindade Petrel incident on my ‘birding faux pas’ list."

Technical Information

Canon EOS 7D
Lens model
EF300mm f/4L IS USM +1.4x
Focal length
420 mm
Shutter speed
1/800 sec
Flash did not fire, auto
Original file size
2433 x 1622

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