Sunday, 8 December 2013

Rye Meads for a Rail

1st December 2013

As new birders we are told that Water Rails are shy and retiring birds, spending all their time deep inside reed beds and only rarely seen. However, there is one bird in front of the Gadwall Hide at Rye Meads that clearly hasn't read the rule book. This Water Rail is often seen feeding out in the open, right in front of the hide providing some superb photo opportunities and therefore despite the gloom I set off to try my luck.

Things were looking good. As soon as I arrived in the hide I could see the rail out on the mud some 30 yards away to the right. No problem. I now just needed to get myself comfortable and wait for it to work its way along the waters edge towards me. Unfortunately, the bird had other ideas. Instead it swam across to one of the islands and then flew to the left hand bank and disappeared into the reeds, never to be seen again over the next two hours.

However, while I was waiting a pair of Teal came fairly close dabbling in the shallow mud in front of the hide. Even the more drab female has an iridescent green speculum which was illuminated in the just ten minutes of sunshine.

The next visitor was an absolute bonus. A Redshank had arrived at Rye Meads the day before, but had been spending most of its time out in the middle of the lagoon, but suddenly appeared just outside the window. Unfortunately by now the sun had gone in, but I was able to get some shots before it eventually flew out to the middle again.

The Water Rail will have to wait for another day.

Don't forget that for better reproduction of my photos, see my photo gallery at


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