30 January 2014

Railing against the weather

I chose Thursday as my day off because on Monday that was when the cold easterlies were due in. Thursday arrived after 32hrs of constant rain and counting. No problem let’s try for the Water Rail, ideal conditions, there must be flocks. Shoulder of Mutton has become Torso of Mutton (do sheep have a torso?) so the water edge comes to meet you. After the first hour in the drizzle I was half way there, lots of aquaticus but no rallus. I had heard that surveying for Water Rails was best done at night as they are more likely to respond, but respond to what? I had downloaded Water Rail song (!), call and their sharming. Sharming is the raucous shrieking noise made when two Water Rails meet or dispute a feeding area, apparently. I tried all three - nothing.  I wandered slowly and damply all around ToM as close to the water as possible and returned to stand by the bramble patch in the SE. Standing six inches in I heard what sounded like a Water Rail call, but a bit high pitched. I retaliated with my phone's call to get an instant sharming “whark, whark, whark” from within the brambles. Gotcha!  Stood around for another ten minutes, not even a glimpse. One short of my end of Jan target, it's stopped raining though, shall I go out for Tawny Owl?

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