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Friday, 21 September 2012

BAILLON'S CRAKE giving itself up

I returned once more to RAINHAM MARSH RSPB today to have another look at the BAILLON'S CRAKE - to date having been seen by just over 2,100 observers...

By some surprise, it was its best day so far for viewing duration. Prior to my arrival at 1100 hours, it had performed almost non-stop from 0630 to 0830 hours - the longest period it has ever shown since its discovery some 14 days ago. After this time, it had reverted back to its normal behaviour, offering observers very fleeting glimpses as it moved quickly across the muddy parches on the reedy island.

Although I had been in the hide for over three and a half hours without seeing the bird, at 1505 hours Barrie Hamill suddenly exclaimed that there it was - right out in the open at the back of the main pool. It then spent the next ten minutes walking from right to left, every now and then climbing up on to the reeds to preen. It afforded some outstanding views, allowing several in the hide an opportunity to take pictures. It was a real good showing - the bird now being quite extensively slate grey on the underparts and around the face. This was the first time I had seen it wander so far to the left - its normal behaviour being to skulk in the island area just right of middle hide.

Also at Rainham today were the juvenile MARSH HARRIER, 1 HOBBY, 9+ Little Egrets and several Common Greenshanks. A first-winter DARTFORD WARBLER was still on the reserve, but very elusive.

Special Weekend Viewing will be operative again tomorrow and Sunday, the gates and hide being accessible from 0600 hours.