Rails at Rodman
- Vishnu and I kayaked south under the Rodman Slough bridge today. At around 11:30 a.m. we heard sounds coming from the west shore that prompted Vishnu to say, "That sounds like a rail." We looked for a while and Vishnu clapped his hands, but nothing happened and we thought it must have been something else. Then suddenly I saw a rail come out from the reeds and forage in the mud near the water. I got my binoculars on it briefly. It quickly disappeared, then reappeared a few minutes later, foraged for a few seconds, then quickly disappeared again. That bird never reappeared, but another one appeared a couple minutes later about 30 feet farther to the north, closer to the bridge. We heard the calling again between the second and third sightings. Vishnu saw the birds but never got his binoculars on them. We are quite sure they were two different birds because we don't think the first bird could have moved north without us seeing it cross an opening in the vegetation. I'm pretty sure these were adult birds as the plumage was well defined.
In between the 2nd sighting and the third and last sighting I got out my Western Sibley and saw that Sora would have black on the face. So on the third sighting I looked closely at the head. I saw what looked like a uniformly greyish head and face (and upper neck?) with no black. Unfortunately we never got another look even though we tried later in the afternoon. The birds carried themselves in an upright manner and the tail was markedly upturned. I am almost positive both birds were of the same species.
I listened to Ron LeValley and BNA recordings when I got home, and my best guess is that we saw and heard at least one and probably two Virginia Rails.
I remember that Floyd _________ (not Floyd Hayes - another Floyd) reported a Virginia Rail in that spot a few years ago.
If you go on foot to look, go south from the parking lot to the first opening in the vegetation that enables you to get to the water's edge. We saw the first bird just south of that opening and the the second bird was 25-30 feet to the north.