I have gone birding 3 times in the past three days, and was going to post them all in one post, by now am breaking it up into 3 parts.
Part I- Marsh Hen Tide
On Friday I headed over to the marshlands conservancy. It had rained so much over the past few days, plus it was a new moon 3 days before, so the tide was very high. That was exactly why I was there. I had sort of seen clapper rail before. (See my post, Ruffing It) But that had been a calling bird, and then I had seen a moving shape that could have been anything. It was not the kind of look I wanted for a lifer, but I counted it anyway. I don't know why, and I probably shouldn't have. This time I wanted a good look. So I went at a very high tide, hoping for the phenomenon known as a "marsh hen tide," when the highest tides of the year would drive the rails out of the center of the marsh and make them visable for once.
It worked. After checking out some other spots and getting indigo bunting, yellowthroat, willet, common tern, and marsh wren, I headed to the rail spot. I sat on a bench overlooking the marsh, and began scanning. Egret, Mallard, Egret. Then, by a clump of higher reeds, a head popped up, with a long bill and red eye. I had my rail. I then slunk across the marsh, but because the tide was so high, it was visable the whole time. Then it got to a spot with more water, and swam out of sight. Very, very cool bird. Looking back to where the first rail had been spotted, I saw another one poke its head up, then disappear. No marsh sparrows, but after seeing the rails, I can't complain. Plus, there will be another time for marsh sparrows (foreshadowing alert!- see later posts in this series)