The corncrake, aka crex crex

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.

The corncrake, aka crex crex

Image: Wikimedia Commons

By Gerard Cunningham

Gerard Cunningham occupies his time working as a journalist, writer, sub-editor, blogger and podcaster, yet still finds himself underemployed.


  1. While I believe that everything is connected I was never particularly interested in ‘the cricket’ until I heard the magical voice of Roy Harper sing ‘when an old cricketer leaves the crease, well ye never know whether he’s gone’ etc. I’m sure you’ll find this song somewhere on youtube and if you’re wondering what the connection with crickets is, apart from the obvious, consider corduROY, but don’t HARP on about it – OK!

  2. Maybe I’m being over-fussy. I’m used to recording on the Zoom, the Android phone is serviceable but not exactly broadcast quality. Glad to hear it sounded ok.

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