On the strength of Simon -Mote Park , A Wildlife Patchwork's posting last night , I set off this morning to finally to get some decent photos of one of the three Water Rails that were showing well on his patch .
I found the Park fine , and , after asking a few passers by , found the old pond behind the waterfall . As I arrived , I noticed a Grey Wagtail feeding close by ,
a Moorhen , fossicking towards the back of the pond , and very briefly , a Water Rail to the right of the Moorhen . I reached for the camera , and in the few seconds , the Water Rail had 'ghosted' away , not to be seen , by me again . After a while , a young man approached , sporting the same lens that I was sporting . It had to be Simon , and sure enough , it was . We chatted , waiting for the Water Rail , or even the Jack Snipe to show up , neither did . Simon said that he had left a friend trying to photograph another Water Rail 10 minutes away , by the side of a bridge . We decided to head over there , and see if that individual was more willing to get in front of the lens . On the way , Simon showed me an Oak , where a little Owl lived . As we approached the bridge , Simon's friend could be seen walking towards us , not exactly encouraging . When we reached him , he said that the Water Rail that they were watching , disappeared , and didn't show again , it was deja vous . Did finally get Siskins by the bridge , when a flock of 15/20 flew in and started to feed , high in the riverside Alders . After showing me some other places of interest , Simon had to leave to get back to his studies , and I started looking around on my own . Everywhere one went in the Park , Mistle Thrushes could be heard , singing their 'funeral dirge' song . Those that weren't singing , were feeding on the ground , and this time I didn't have to point the camera at houses . The amount of Mistletoe in the trees in and around the Park , shows that they are there in good numbers . I spent the time shuttling between the old pond and the bridge , thinking to myself that the Water Rails were going for cover as I approached and coming out to feed when I had gone to the other site . On one of the walks between sites , I came across this Jay , but once again failed to get a really clear shot . On one occasion when I returned to the old pond , the call of a Tree Creeper had me looking up into an Alder . I managed to get several shots before that also disappeared from view . Every time I walked between the two sites , I looked for the Little Owl , in it's hole , described by Simon as heart shaped , and sure enough it was easy to find . Having found nothing on previous passes , I was surprised to find the 'Little Owl' at home on my last look . Time to update the field guide Simon ? - only kidding .
Last visit to the bridge produced another Simon , who had photographed a Water Rail a bit further on , about an hour ago . He kindly showed me the area where he had found it , but it was not to be found again . Thanks for the info Simon , enjoyed meeting you , not just because you too had a Cannon camera and the same lens as me .
When I returned to the old pond for the last time , two people with binoculars , were peering intently towards the back of the pond . Water Rail ? , I asked . 'Yes , it showed for a couple of seconds and' , yes you've guessed it , 'disappeared' . I hung about as long as I could , not to get caught up in the rush hour traffic , then gave up on my target species for the day .
Good meeting you Simon , I can now place areas mentioned in your posts , and I shall be back for another try at the Water Rails .
3 hours ago