Date: 2/18/18 9:04 am From: Bill Hohenstein via va-bird <va-bird...> Subject: [Va-bird] King Rails at Occoquan NWR
I went out to Occoquan NWR this morning. The highlight was an encounter with a pair of King Rails. I decided to head down Easy Road. As I arrived at the marsh toward the end of Easy Road, I came up on a family with small kids... so I had low expectations of finding anything. (Don't get me wrong, I love kids.. but they tend not to go well with Rails). They kept walking and I stopped for a moment. Almost right away, a Rail started vocalizing close by in the Marsh on the north side. I set up my tripod and waited. Sure enough, after several minutes, I saw a ripple of water and then a rail appeared out of the reeds. I started rolling and stopped breathing. I was able to catch some close ups and then the rail crossed open water. As soon as it settled on the other side a second rail came across. You can see footage of them here and a couple of short audio clips.
Also of note -- roughly 2000 lesser scaup and at least one small flock of greater scaup on the open water at the end of easy road. Bufflehead and a horned grebe too. Good numbers of sparrows .. nothing too unusual. Heard a Fox Sparrow and a few Towhees.