If you had to come up with three words to describe the Water Rail, Rallus aquaticus, they would probably be skulking, secretive and decorative. Have you seen one? They’re always a delight to find because they are so, well, skulking and secretive but when you see one they are so decorative.
I had an enjoyable afternoon with my friend Dave at Stover Country Park and we got a hot tip that a Water Rail was in a drainage ditch heading into the lake. They’re tricky to see in good light because they are so… well, you know what they’re like.
This one spotted us and was having a good look at us moving in the undergrowth in our full camouflage.
There are only 1,100 breeding territories in the UK according to the RSPB, which shows just how many of our wetlands have been destroyed. I wish this one well in finding a mate and continuing to delight.