On one side of the boardwalk, the marsh grasses (from 2004) had changed into wet mud with little vegetation, and the other side was full of tall dried reeds. My thought was that no rail was going to walk through that mud, and then I would never find one on the other side of the boardwalk in the tall dried reeds.
Again, it had been a quiet birding afternoon and we were ready to leave for camp. Suddenly, I heard a rail call and then it came out of the tall reeds into the open, found a crustacean to eat and disappeared. I managed to get several photos, so I was happy. But this rail was still hungry and came out hunting again. This time it stalked much more slowly as if it was posing for me. I took so many pictures that I quit photographing before it went back into hiding. A little later, another rail (I think) came out to hunt. This small wetland of only 4 acres is worth a stop every time!
A couple days later, we had 6" of rain and the marsh was very wet. Again, I heard a call in the late afternoon, and so I stood in the doorway watching the marsh through my binoculars. Yes!!! I saw the rail and then another one. These Clapper Rails were moving toward me, into an open area good for pictures. Can you believe it, photographing rails from my camper doorway!
The birding literature says that you can find Clapper Rails along Yacht Basin Road on Goats Island, so we drove along the road slowly, but didn't hear or see any rails. The next day, I asked a birder from the area, if it was still true that Yacht Basin was a good rail location. I was assured that is was worth another drive by and, sure enough, we heard and then saw three Clapper Rails with one chasing another out of its territory.
It was 8 years since the first time we looked for Clapper Rails and we had seen them only once. Now in one trip, we see them in 3 different locations. This certainly will remain one of the high points of our trip.
The references and gear I used for this blog are:
Camera: Canon EOS 10D
Lens: Canon EF100-400mm F4.5-5.6L IS USM
Steiner 10x42 Predator Binoculars
The SIBLEY Guide to Birds