Sunday, 31 August 2008

!!! Spotted Crake !!! no seriously a Spotted Crake!

Where do I begin, I'm still in a state of shock. I have been putting off going to Rising Sun Country Park all summer because there are people everywhere and with the exception of this years pallas Warbler, I never see anything good, until today.
I got there at around 1:00pm and walked around the Hadrian woodland in search of typical woodland species, but nothing apart from a Magpie, one for sorrow.
Then I went to the hide just of the main track. The hide was empty but people kept going past, mainly screaming kids and dopey dogs.
The reeds in front of the hide are to overgrown to get good views of the pond but there was nothing much anyway.
A handful of Mallards were in the shallow muddy water between the hide and the reeds so to was a sneezing swan, I didn't even no they could sneeze?
The weather was strange, kind of muggy with the threat of rain. When it did rain a couple came into the hide which made me thing I'm never going to see anything. It was 1:40 when they left and I was then disstracted by theree rats which were running around next to the hide.
When I turned back I thought one last look across the pond.. but wait whats that?
The mallards have made a small channel through the reeds and standing on the edge of the reeds feeding in the mud was a Spotted Crake, lifer 171!
The usual questions ran through my head, is it not just a Juv Moorhen, or something.
No it was definetely a Spotted crake, it looked a bit smaller than a Starling and was covered in tiny white flecks. It had yellowy greenish legs and a orangy brown body with darker patches on its side and back, its beak was a dull yellow with a slight redish look.
I had time to compare the picture in my bird book and it was almost identical.
I know it sounds like I'm describing a young Moorhen but it was definetly a Spotted crake.
It stood there for about a minute or two pecking at the insects on the water before, as if to wave away my doubts a Moorhen came across from the other side if the reeds with its young.
I've seen plenty of young Moorhens before, some of which were on the main pond, and this young was well developed with blackish brown fluffy feathers and a dull brownish beak, also it was nearly the same size as its parent.
The moorhen swam across to the crake and pecked it forcing it to run off into the reeds.
When the crake and the moorhen were next to each other it was clear that they looked different and that the crake was half the size of the moorhen.
It seemed like time stood still nobody was around until it disappeared so I left, it was claer with more screaming kids coming up the path that it wasn't going to come back.
There have been times when I have doubted what I've seen but I have never been more sure than this.
I now going off to hurt myself for not charging my camera. I could have proved it as it was only a meter or so from the hide.
Hopefully somebody else will see it and confirm but I think that it was a million to one shot.

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