Wednesday 22 April 2020

Lockdown Day 30 - Remembering a Water Rail

Today, whilst being a lovely day, has been the shopping day and it takes a fair chunk of the day due to queuing outside each shop visited. So, this is another recollection blog.

In February 2019 I had a little time to spare whilst up near Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire and near there is Staveley, a Yorkshire Wildlife Trust reserve. At this point I must mention that the Government advice is to exercise locally and so whilst it is a lovely reserve to visit and very soon such as Common Terns will be nesting there, if it is not local to you then please save it up for when all this crisis is over!

About 15 minutes walk from the car park is a hide, with bird feeders to the side and a reedbed and the lake out front. Being February, it was quite cold but from experience both here and at RSPB Fairburn Ings, this is the best time to see a Water Rail as they come out of the reeds more often looking for food. They are really quite secretive birds otherwise. Water Rails are omnivores and will eat most small creatures up to even small mammals and amphibians as carrion as well as vegetable matter, seeds and nuts.

This one came out of the reeds and proceeded to potter around the base of the bird feeder (as I have also seen at Fairburn Ings at the side of the visitors' centre!) eating seeds and grains that had dropped down from the feeders. From where I was standing just next to the hide it was probably only about five or six feet away from me and really wasn't noticing my presence.

It then went back into the reeds completely hidden from view.

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