Thursday, May 29, 2008

Huntley Meadows--In Search of Rails, Part II

I was determined to see the Virginia Rails, especially since they have chicks. Records for Huntley Meadows going back to the '80s show no known breeding Virginia Rails, so it's very exciting. I went yesterday (Wednesday) evening to see if I could catch them coming out to feed, but to no avail, so I was back again this morning at 7:30 am. Along with the rest of the Virginia Rail paparazzi. By the time I left, there were twice the number shown below. Most had lenses requiring a Sherpa to assist in carrying.

This time, we struck gold. I saw the gentleman in the above picture with the gi-normous white Canon lens taking some pics and hurried over. We saw an adult pair of rails engaging in, well, some adult activity behind some reeds. Afterwards, they moved like wraiths in and out of the reeds. I got a few quick shots with my camera, then set up the digiscoping rig. Eventually they moved to a more open area and we were able to get some great shots. The rails were quite active. The group saw two adults and three chicks in all. We had to be quick as they moved in and out of the reeds.

In the above picture, the rail is just getting ready to hop into a tunnel in the reeds.

Above, the parent rail looks for breakfast while a chick looks on. The adults are about 9" in length, about robin sized but not robin-shaped!

This chick was sitting just outside the tunnel in the reeds, possibly leading to the nesting area, as they all came and went from there frequently.

It was a very fun morning.... what could be better than a beautiful day in a beautiful place and not only seeing a new bird, but getting to watch it with its young?
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Larry said...

Wow! Great photos Betsy! I've never had that kind of look at a Virginia Rail-only a quick glimpse-very nice!

Anonymous said...

I've seen VA Rails many times but never with young. Thnaks for the pics. Glad to see you are still out there.