For the longest time, I thought they were crickets.
I wasn’t too sure what a cricket was, but the sound was vaguely similar. In every western I ever saw as a child, there was a scene where the cowboys sat around a campfire, and the exposition took place as one of the characters explained some vital piece of background that would prove critical to the plot during the final act.
And in the background, the crickets chirped, until the scene ended with one of the cowboys pouring the dregs of the coffee over the campfire.
Lying in bed in the early summers growing up, I could hear the krak krak at the bottom of the back field. The same sound, but not quite. Maybe Irish crickets were different, I thought.
The sound became scarcer as I grew up, and silage making took its toll on a species that nested in open fields. Eventually, they were only a memory.
Until last night, when I heard a sound from my childhood.
The corncrakes have returned.
[Recorded last night on my android phone, apologies for the poor sound quality]
Image: Wikimedia Commons