9th February 2017
I have been to Lemsford Springs many times over the years and have managed to get some good photos of Green Sandpiper, Grey Wagtail, Snipe and even Kingfisher. But whenever I go, other people in the hide always take great delight in pointing out where they have seen Water Rails. The problem is that despite constant searching in all the hotspots I have never seen a Water rail at Lemsford, and as far as I am concerned they are a figment of everyone's vivid imagination.
Today it was very dull and freezing cold so not too surprisingly I was the only nutter in the hide, so settled down and starting scanning the cress beds. As would be expected I soon found three Green Sandpipers, the compulsory residents at Lemsford, but not a sign of the usual Grey Herons, Little Egrets, Grey Wagtails or Snipe, but I did notice some movement in the vegetation on the far bank. A quick inspection with the bins revealed.........a WATER RAIL, so they do exist here.
Now for the main challenge, to get a photograph. The problem was two-fold. The first was the light was virtually non-existent, and the second was that the bird was spending a lot of its time under the bank in shadow, so extreme measures were called for. I wound the ISO up to 5000 and started clicking away and eventually managed to get 200 shots in various poses.
OK, these shots are not going to win any prizes, but they are proof that I saw one, and when someone tells me about the day they saw a Water Rail here I can nod in an understanding manner. Also, I feel I owe the warden Barry Trevis an apology, as the last time I saw him I did suggest that he was making the whole thing up to boost trade.