Male Little Crake - Exminster Marshes 9/4/08. Photographed not long after its initial discovery. I saw it again in the ditch below the fisherman's carpark on the 17th and 20th April. It was present until April 23rd.
A fabulous find by AJ Bellamy. I drove past him, on my way to the fisherman's carpark, shortly after he'd found it, not realising that the figure stood photographing 'something' in a ditch was AJ, who was the warden at the time. I got a text from Mark Bailey whilst stood by the canal a couple minutes later - "Little Crake - Exminster Marshes". I'm at Exminster Marshes! A short while later and I was watching it alongside AJ - a really beautiful bird and a real show-off - stealthily picking its way along the ditch beside the lane, and in view for long periods of time.
There are nine Devon records (of 11 individuals) listed prior to the Exminster bird (The Birds of Devon - M Tyler) but the majority of those were in the nineteenth century. There has been one record since - a juvenile on Black Hole Marsh, Seaton, found by Ian McLean on September 4th 2014. I never tried for that one but I wish I had.
My first Little Crake was the Marazion bird that my brother and I drove down to see on November 6th 2004. We had pretty good views early on in the morning after a trip down in the dark.