Saturday, 8 September 2012

Baillon's Crake, Rainham Marshes

Breaking news of a Baillon's Crake present at Rainham Marshes.

So it's not difficult to decide where to head for this morning.
It's just myself and dad this morning as Brian is birding down in Norfolk for the week. 
With the reserve opening at 6am thanks to staff and volunteers we pull into the make shift car park at 6.20. Which is about the same time that the Baillon's is giving good views to the birders already present in the hide feeding along the edge of the reeds.
Butt's hide is as expected packed with birders as we enter, but we are told that the crake had been showing best from the far end of the hide.
So avoiding the tripods, scopes and birders we edge our way to the far corner of the hide. 
Speaking to a birder who had already seen the bird, I'm told it was feeding along the edge of the reeds and that it had then walked into the channel and hadn't been seen since.
All is quiet until 7.10, when a Coot flushes the crake out of the reeds. It jumps briefly into the air and flies across to the near bank and again out of sight.
With the bins now trained on this area, I'm hoping it's going to walk back into view as it moves along the edges.
It's another ten minutes and then the Baillon's is seen again in flight. This time it's a slower unhurried flight with legs trailing below.
It lands briefly at the edge of the reeds and then quickly moves into deeper cover and again it's hidden from view.
We watch and wait for another three hours but there's no more sightings in that time. So we decide to make our way back towards the car.
Pleased with the flight views, and the brief views when it landed on the edge of the reeds, but as always wishing we had got better views.
Rainham is only 25-30 minutes from home so if the bird hangs around maybe another trip over in the hope of better views will be made.

Home for some breakfast with another lifer added to my list.

P.S: Thanks to Howard and the team of volunteers who opened the reserve up early and closed late. To give as many people as possible the chance of seeing the bird. 

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