Monday, November 2, 2015

A Nice Bird for Mecklenburg County

I found a nice bird last Saturday when I played some marsh bird calls at an extensive wetland off Marvin Road in the southern part of Mecklenburg County. A Virginia rail answered a playback of the species's raucous grunting call.

I have located this species before at that location; I was even able to get a decent photo of one in April 2014. That's not easy to do. Virginia rails, like other rails prefer to stay hidden in thick marsh vegetation. The birds are inquisitive though and will readily approach a tape of their calls. the trick is to catch a glimpse as they creep through the grass.

Rails don't breed or winter here but they do pass thru in the migrations and may stay for short periods of time in a suitable location before moving on.

In the photo below of the bird from 2014 it is easy to see how getting a good look at one can be challenging. They know how to keep a sight barrier between themselves and a birder.

Virginia Rail by Taylor Piephoff