Thursday, 19 January 2012

Water rail, UCD, Dublin

Exactly a year ago today (19 Jan) I spotted a Water rail in UCD down by the 'secret lakes', it was a great find but was to be my only sighting of it over the whole year.
This winter I reguarly scanned the area again, before and after Christmas, but together with no Redwing nor Teal, I assumed lack of Water rail was in keeping with the mild winter non-arrivals.
Until Tuesday, when Niall and Billy got in touch to say there was a report on Irish Birding by Des Higgins of a Water rail in UCD - in exactly the same location as last year!
I headed down on Tues and sure enough saw it darting along the vegetataion, then it came out into the open and showed off its distinctive plumage good n' proper. It's a striking package for a little bird.
Its location is right next to a path well used by joggers, walkers and dog walkers, so the views were quite out in the open but fleeting due to disturbance and its nature. Soon enough Billy ambled along and I was able to show him where the Water rail was, he had his camera and managed a few decent shots.

Today I brought my lens into work and headed down during lunch - please be there, please be there.
I had the place to myself and not a single jogger/ walker went by, so it was silent except for bird song and the Water rail.

Water rail, UCD, Dublin

Water rail, UCD, Dublin, Jan 19th 2012
Water rail started singing/ alarm call?

Once I saw the Water rail starting to throw shapes and sounds around the place, a little ding sound went off in my brain and I started to record.
So, aswell as a still image I also present you with 30 seconds of a Calling Water rail in UCD:

Apologies for the shakiness, the (heavy) lens was handheld and there was nowhere to rest the lens and when you're videoing you've got to hold the camera out in front to look at the monitor blah, blah, excuses, blah.
Anyhow - pretty cool to have a Water rail out in the open, to hear it calling was a bonus.
You can see at the start of the footage its looking around in every direction, but from 30 secs on it fixes me with the filthiest look I think I've ever been given. I'm assuming it's throwing evils at me anyway, could have been something else.
After the Water rail had disappeared back into the vegetation, I decided to leave it alone and wandered off to see what else was around.
It was quietish today, but still there were some nice sightings.

Blue tit, UCD, Dublin - my favourite punk bird.

Long tailed tit, UCD, Dublin, Jan 2012

Robin, UCD, Dublin, Jan 2012

Mistle Thrush showing white feathers from underwing, UCD, Dublin, Jan 2012

 Silvery, 'cold brown' back of a Mistle Thrush, UCD, Dublin, Jan 2012

Tough Tufted Duck gang, UCD Main Lakes - Jan 2012

Moor hen with very red legs, Main lake, UCD (Niall has said the amount of red in the legs is due to this bird being pumped with loads of testostrone coming into breeding season)

Oiks, Footie pitches next to Chapel - UCD, Jan 2012

Oyster catchers, UCD - Jan 2012

Lots of grey squirrels around campus, this one was eating a thrown away apple core. UCD - Jan 2012