Very dark bird. Possible juv. Not too sure if ID. I'll post digiscope images later.
Short bill, buff tail.
Sounds good, back left reeds on scrape perchance?
It was actually showing at the back centre/right of the scrape, on the blackish mud. It kept coming out well into the open for several minutes, before disappearing behind the peninsular of reeds.
The bill seemed too small for Water Rail, but I have never seen a Juvenile Water Rail, so my experience on them is limited.
The link below shows some of the very poor images I managed to grab, using my phone pointed through my scope. Apologies to all the photographers. As you can tell, I don't really do photography.
A guy I met on the path had a decent looking camera, and looked like he knew what to do with it. He kindly said he'd email me his pics when he got home in a few days. I'll share them when I get them.
Along with the good birding, it was nice to meet so many nice people at Shapwick today, with visitors from Topsham, Exeter and Twickenham paying the scrape a visit.
Juv Water Rail for me....Bill looks to long for Spotted Crake.
I would have to agree with Rob here, the bill is far too long unfortunately for it to be a Spotted Crake
Thanks for your input guys. I guess I can now say I HAVE seen a juv. Water Rail then.
It was definitely a tough one, as there must have been, in total, 20 or so birders in total watching it over the course of the afternoon. Nobody could ID it conclusively, but the general conclusion seemed to lean towards Spotted Crake.
I think the darkness of the plumage, coupled with its tendency to willingly stray far from cover had us all foxed. The bill length was also discussed at length, and, oddly, the bill did appear smaller than it looks in the photos; but I suppose the camera never lies (Photoshop excluded).
A dark juvenile Water Rail was present in the same area as your pictures show this morning, hopefully this clears the matter up. Still a nice sight
That'll be that then. Thanks for the help Ryan.
I talked myself back and forth from Water Rail to Crake all afternoon yesterday.
It all adds to the book of experience, and at least I'll be better armed next time I come across a Juvenile Water Rail.
Only place I've seen spotted crake is on the path to Decoy Hide and that was three years ago.
I was present when this bird was around (we spoke).
Can you post any clear pictures if you get them. There's still some debate down here in Winchester as to its identity.
Will do Davey. The only ones I have at the moment are the ones I posted, but if I get the photos from the other guy I'll post them as well.
Good birding to you!
Apologies for the delay. I'm the photographer who was next to you. I've got some photos but they're not brilliant. Email me at email@example.com and I'll send them to you.
The photo kindly supplied from Phil is now in the same location as the other photos (link above). It's the last one without the vignetting.
Hi again Jamie,
Thanks for posting the photo. I've tried zooming in but can't distinguish the detail.
Hi, folks. Good to see all the photos. One clearly shows a bird with a bill that's too long for a SC. I saw the juv W Rail there a few days after and it certainly looks like this bird.
I think we can conclude that this was indeed a Water Rail. Some very experienced birders above have ID'd it as such (including seeing the bird themselves), which is certainly good enough for me.
Nice that the bird generated a decent debate though.
Agreed. A good debate. I'm going to assume the matter now closed. Thanks for your help.