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Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Water Rails in the Rail Ditch so far in 2018

Water Rails in the Rail Ditch area 2

The weather so far this year has been more wet than cold, although we have had 2 nights where the temperature dropped below freezing this caused the ditch to ice over. There are still 2 birds present here and the one in the Wetalnd Pen can still be seen looking through the gap in the hedge. There is more good news to report a fourth bird is in the reed bed south of the Boat House Cafe. 
The 2 birds in the area 2 normally keep a healthy distant, the bird nearest the bridge being more dominant. There are times when they may accidentally bump into each other, if this happens both birds retreat into the reeds, the bird from the far end has to swim and run. The bird nearest the bridge has been seen eating small fish which he catches on the lakeside edge of his reed bed or sometimes he has been seen flying into the reeds on the end of Hanover Island. The other day I watched him struggling to swallow what I think may have been a small Perch, eventually managing too. Then some I wasn't expecting he uncovered another fish that he must have stashed earlier. I hadn't realised this was something they did, it does explain how he came by a fish I saw him pull out of some vegetation a couple of weeks ago. Vocally the birds don't often utter their pig like squeal but if you are familiar with their contact call you can here this quite often. 

Below are some slightly better images of the birds, mainly to dominant one

It's not often that the birds get this close to each other

The light is often tricky but this shows the bird using the feeding station

If the weather is cold I put some food on the ground but this can attract unwanted species such as Carrion Crow and Egyptian Goose so I don't do it daily.

These images show the bird eating 2 fish

The top bird is alert because the bird from the far end of the Rail Ditch has come down for some food.


They bird below I believe is a male as his undertail feathers are more contrasting and striking

I have included this photo showing The Birds of Regent's Park, written by Rolfe Green with drawings by Maggie Silver. If you are interested there you can pick up a free copy from the Parks Office, which is on the Inner Circle next to the top of Chester Road. The office is open 8.30am to 3.30pm weekdays only

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