A young rail – maybe second season – looking for a meal in the marsh. It is rare that I see a Rail in the open. They typically hide in the reeds and the dense brush – at least when I’m around. A second, adult Rail was lurking in the undergrowth nearby, but was too shy to come out for a picture.
The Rail may appear to be plump and juicy, but it can actually compress its body to move between the reeds without touching them. The saying “thin as a rail” has often been attributed to this bird species. Rails also tend to walk everywhere rather than fly – or drive. Or take the bus.
I think this particular bird is the King Rail, as opposed to the Virginia Rail, but would appreciate a confirmation or correction from any experts who happen by.
This was such an unusual encounter (for me), I actually stopped taking pictures and sat down on the trail to watch the bird as it foraged in the water just a few feet away. I quietly observed the Rail for a good fifteen, almost twenty seconds, when a couple of banshees on bicycles came barrelling around the bend and scared the poor little bird into the next county. Thanks guys! For some reason I thought the Bay Trail was for hikers only. I must have misread the signs.
To the right: A baby Moccasin in the reeds.
(Click on images to enlarge.)
Common Water Snake enjoying some sun.
Below: A couple of Water Moccasins. (aka Eastern Cottonmouth)
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