SE Colorado Birding

Birding and discussion: A conservation-oriented birding blog that emphasizes low-impact birding and sustainable birding practices together with the enjoyment of birds. Southeast Colorado offers a diversity of habitats which provide premiere birding opportunities. Save Sabal Palm

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Rail hunt

Boy, it's been a week since I posted. Though I was very busy with some conservation issues, I have also been spending a lot of time on the Breeding Bird Atlas-II bird surveys. Two species has taken a bunch of that time lately--Soras and Virginia Rails. A few weeks agoI had heard them calling in an emergent wetland adjacent to my friend's property near Canon City so I knew it was likely they were nesting.

However, rails can be pretty secretive and since they live in marshes, it can be challenging to confirm nesting. I didn't want to try to locate nests since they would be very intrusive so I spent time listening and watching. In this last week I have watched one or more Virginia Rails foraging around the wetland and calling to each other (some were contact calls but others were alarm calls, sometimes seeming to be related to my presence and other times clearly related to some cattle that had entered the wetland). I have also heard several Soras calling though I have only seen one Sora.

These are some of the photos of an adult Virginia Rail I got this week. I used the same trick that rails do--no, I'm not "skinny as a rail" but neither are these birds, but they know how to use the vegetation to make themselves hard to see.

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