Water Rails At Pennington Flash

Water Rails are shy and reclusive birds and generally very difficult to see. They skulk among the reed beds and only appear occasionally at the edge of the reeds or on the bank as they run quickly from one reed bed to another.

The winter months are usually a good time to see Water Rails. The vegetation cover has died back somewhat and the birds are forced out in search of food, particularly during harsh weather conditions. In these circumstances they are not averse to visiting bird feeders where they will scavenge the ground for fallen seeds etc.

The photos shown here were taken from the Bunting Hide at Pennington Flash in February of this year, not long after the brief frozen spell at the beginning of the month.

The birds were still very nervous when they first appeared and would skulk around among the sticks at the opposite side of the feeder clearing, occasionally rushing in to pick up a few seeds before rushing back to cover. Eventually one individual was bold enough to come right out into the middle of the clearing and stay there for a while, allowing really brilliant views.

[click on a photo for a larger view]

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