Monday 22 March 2021

A Water Rail in the Drain

 I've felt much better today, and with the weather good, hopes were high of a productive walk around the park and cemetery. I felt like I had wasted the weekend to be honest, and wanted to see something interesting, and burn a bit more energy.

Well, it was worth it! 15,000 steps, 10km and two hours!

Sconce Park wasn't very interesting, although the blossom is staggeringly beautiful. There were no peacocks on the blossom, and only a few honeybees working the higher flowers out of camera range. The birdsong was incredibly loud however, with the chaffinches really going for it, and two chiff chaffs singing in the park grounds. 

There's some very loud great tits around at the moment too!

After a circuit of the lake - a quiet time for birds there at the moment but the big carp were sunbathing in the lagoon, knowing that no anglers are allowed to do their angling there. 

The cycle path, bizarrely, was where the real good stuff was to be found. I'm saving some of that news for tomorrow, but down past London Road pond, in the drainage ditch, was where I was stunned to get my first ever sighting of a relative of the coot and moorhen.

I was walking along, and noticed a disturbance in the vegetation next to the water. It took a minute for my eyes to locate the source; then I saw the long red beak and dappled plumage of a water rail skulking about!

These aren't rare birds, and there are sightings at RSPB Langford Lowfields, but they are notoriously shy and secretive and so to see one next to a busy cycle path in the middle of town was just mindblowing. Apparently, one has been seen down there a few years ago, foraging among the discarded red bull cans.

So, all in all, a better day, and it has put me in a better frame of mind.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 22.03.21


  1. We enjoyed your post and photos as always. We're just a bit concerned about the discarded redbull cans - is this not a bit of nature that someone could love enough to clear them up occasionally?

  2. It's always exciting to spot a bird like that; I know where lots of them are but only rarely am rewarded with a sighting. Nice photo of it too.

  3. That water rail is extremely well-camouflaged Si.
    The daffodils along the edges of the cemetery path are so beautiful.

  4. We have groups doing regular clean ups along there now