Conditions were perfect for rail spotting this morning, no wind, overcast, and
a nice amount of freshly exposed mud. The bottom of the pond seems to have
silted up and become very flat, which means that quite large areas became
exposed overnight with just a slight drop in level.
I spotted an adult Lewin's Rail in the reeds opposite the south platform soon
after I arrived around 8am, then another joined it. They stood together for a
moment then tussled and one flew a few metres and both continued feeding,
sinking to their "knees" in the fresh mud.
I noticed another, much duller, at the edge 15m to the left, and a Spotless
Crake close by to them, then had to leave to catch my train. I now suspect
this is a family group, the first two being the parents of this duller one, and
that it hatched late 2008. The fourth, very dark one, not seen today, hatched
late 2009. I'm surprised it took me this long to come to this conclusion, given
that the numbers seemed to increase by one each year - some people are just
Hopefully we'll have five by the end of the year - I wonder how many the pond
"Possible" thunderstorms are forecast for the next couple of days. If the pond
fills up then unless the next month is unusually dry, this might be the last
sighting till at least November.
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