Sunday, 2 January 2011

New year, new bird

We spent the New Year in the laiterie, and actually slept there for the first time. Therefore we spent more time looking out over the millstream (bief). Great was Tim's excitement when he spotted a water rail, rallus aquaticus, râle d'eau. On a grey day too murky for a decent photo, the only thing conspicuous about this secretive bird was its long candy pink beak and legs, distinguishing it from the resident moorhens. It worked up and down the edge of the bief turning over drowned poplar leaves in search of insects and small crustaceans, swimming occasionally from one exposed mud patch to another.

This species is reported to nest in Bossay sur Claise and possibly Charnizay, but the damp meadow habitat is ideal for it and we've been hoping to see one.

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