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Wednesday, February 15, 2006


Finding rails is about as easy as finding a ghost in dense fog. These usually secretive marsh birds rarely give you a good glimpse and are more often heard than seen. Plus, they're crepuscular, meaning they feed at dawn and dusk — not great light for views or photography. We got lucky and found an area where a Clapper Rail and a Sora Rail have been feeding out in the open in the early morning and at night. Of course, we have been watching them through our "DLS" binoculars which give superb views of birds at low light, maintaining color and sharpness. And Lillian was able to get photos with the Canon 1D Mark II. The Clapper would walk about and poke into the water with its long down-curved bill, take a short time out while hiding behind some grasses, then resume feeding. The Sora is smaller than the Clapper and has a short, blunt, yellow bill. It acted more skitterish than the Clapper, flitting in and out of the grasses while feeding.

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