Date: 12/27/17 11:55 am From: joshuasylvest <joshuasylvest...> Subject: [LABIRD-L] Reserve CBC - Black Rail
Hi LABIRDers, Season's Greetings to you all. My brother David and I covered the "Laplace North" area of the Reserve CBC circle yesterday (12/26/17). It was tough going all day and while we received occasional encouragement from singles of Baltimore Oriole, Wilson's Warbler, Winter Wren and Neotropic Cormorant, the glaring holes in our list were the story of the day. At around 1:30PM, however, the story of the day changed.
***Disclaimer: I know how this story is going to sound, but I have to report it anyway***
We were grabbing a sandwich and updating our list from the truck, which was parked at a Maurepas Swamp WMA trailhead off of old Highway 51. The truck wasn't running and we had been parked there for 2-3 minutes when David noticed a very odd bird flying 2-3 feet off the ground and excitedly let out a "What the WHAT is that?!", which put me on the bird. For the next few seconds, I watched a BLACK RAIL fly ~20 feet across the parking lot before disappearing into a marshy ditch. I will, of course, be submitting details to the LBRC, but suffice it to say for now that it was a tiny black rail with white spotting on the back and a deep chestnut patch on the nape, which was very well-seen. A minute or so after it had landed, I thought I heard it respond with a single "krr"-type call, but traffic noise was quite bad for the duration of our playback efforts. We tried again after sundown but did not hear the bird.
The trailhead is about 0.5 mi or less north of Peavine Rd and just off of Old U.S. 51. The rail was last seen in the marshy strip on the north end of the parking area. I will probably try again for the bird as time allows, but in the meantime I wanted to pass the information along in case anyone else is passing through the area and interested. Cheers! Josh Sylvest