Monday, 6 February 2017

Water Rail

Ann and I had a shortish visit to Llyn Coed y Dinas, our local nature reserve, today in the pouring rain. There wasn't a great deal about, in particular not the bittern that had been there, but it's about a week since anyone reported a sighting. There were good numbers of mallard, teal, tufted duck, along with a contingent of wigeon and a dozen or so lapwings. A single cormorant shuffled about on one of the floating islands, and a carrion crow startled me a bit by seeming to walk on the water. I guess there must have been something just below the surface he could walk on. He had a good splash, not something I'd have wanted to do in that weather! A couple of lesser black backed gulls drifted about, and an anonymous small brown thing flitted through the reeds and away before there was any chance of identification. I had hoped to see snipe and the water rail I'd been told was about, but none were visible and our fingers were going numb, so Ann and I decided a warm cup of chocolate (hers) or a pot of Earl Grey (mine) would be in order, and we prepared to go. But a guy who'd entered the hide maybe five minutes before suddenly said, "Quick, over here!" - and there, below the side window of the hide was the water rail, just feet away and beautifully marked, pecking about in the scruffy vegetation near the water's edge. These are notoriously shy birds, not usually very easy to see; I've never been as close to one as today. We left soon after, and the tea was good too.

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