Saturday, 24 January 2015

Water Rail - Williamthorpe Nature Reserve

Started on the moor with Ken but it was very icy with a cold northerly wind so we headed down in to the valley but without much luck. We bumped in to Roy Frost who mentioned he had seen several Water Rail at Williamthorpe recently. 
After a quiet morning I decided to have a look for them late afternoon. There was a decent group of Teal on the lake and a single male Shoveler but it was heading towards dusk before I heard any Water Rail. Sadly my first sighting was of a large Brown Rat carrying a dead Water Rail through the reeds, I only caught the tail end of it but have included a record shot. Rats are well known predators of rails in other parts of the world and are responsible for wiping out some species but I've never seen a rat take a rail in the UK.
It was getting dark before there was any real activity from the Water Rails but I managed a few record shots.

Water Rail
Brown Rat carrying off a Water Rail

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