Sunday, 28 February 2016

On the trail of the Rail

We all know how difficult it can be to see a Water Rail (or maybe not, as I keep on seeing some excellent photos online) but each year I struggle to catch up with the birds that frequent a couple of areas in Wanstead Park throughout the winter, so to see three different birds in one morning was a bit of a bonus - especially as all my previous attempts to add Water Rail to the year list had failed.

The shaded south-east corner of Shoulder of Mutton lake is one favoured haunt and sure enough a bird was navigating through the tangled undergrowth, before seeing me and quickly disappearing. On the same lake and closest to the main path a second bird was briefly seen along the edge of the main clump of Bulrushes, and then later in the morning I found a third bird on the bank of the river Roding opposite the golf course - sorry did I say Water Rails were difficult to see!

Wanstead Park, Shoulder of Mutton Lake
A photo of a Water Rail as you might expect to see one and not like those excellent photos online!
Also of note was a personal record count of 26 Teal on Heronry Lake and with a single bird also seen on the river Roding, a total of 27 Teal for the park is the highest recorded this winter. I also counted 6 Skylarks on Wanstead Flats which gives us a little bit of hope for the future and the survival of one of London's last remaining breeding sites.

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