There have been rumors that a Virginia Rail has been sighted near the Green Cay boardwalk for over a week. I have searched high and low but usually all I find are the myriad number of Soras in the same area. Don't get me wrong, I love Soras and truth be told, they are one of my favorite winter birds at Green Cay. Maybe one of my favorite birds of all time. I love the silvery glint on the feathers and the little tail that flickers up and down as the Sora struts. But on this day I wasn't happy with the Soras I wanted the Virgnia Rail because it was a lifer and because it was so close yet I couldn't find it. I guess birdwatching can be very thrilling when there's a chase.
As I searched for the Virginia's Rail continued I found the first Common Moorhen nest of the season. She even stood up for a few seconds to show 7 little speckled eggs underneath. She turned a few eggs over and readjusted back down in her secret spot. Soon Green Cay will be littered with the little black puff balls that moorhens call babies. They are ugly fellows but they always signal the beginning of spring.
My search ended but I made sure all my acquaintances and friends knew that I needed this bird. A few hours later one of my regular guys stopped by the nature center to alert me that the rail had returned to the usual spot. I dashed out there and sure enough, there it was. I had great looks and I took a few photos via digibinnig. For those that don't know, digibinning is when you take a photo through your binoculars. I think the photos usually come out soft but it's a nice way to capture a moment when you don't have a big fancy camera.
Now that you've seen my poor digibinning shots let's take a couple of looks at my friend Bill Kominsky's photos. These were taken at Green Cay as well but on another day.
I love that Green Cay (my work) gives me so many precious gifts. Just when I think I've seen it all, a new bird shows up and I am tickled by my luck. Today was a success and the rail was mine. It can be yours too if you're in the area. Check out the stretch on the mile trail near the gazebo just past the Cypress island. It won't be here long.