I've also seen them at Titchwell and Fairburn Ings but not as well as this time at Stavely. Anyway, here are some facts about these lovely birds.
- They have a green status although there are only around 1,100 breeding territories.
- Water Rails have a number of local names which are Velvet Runner, Skittycock, Sharmer. I'm guessing the first two refer to its habit of running away into the reeds at the slightest disturbance.
- Numbers have recovered from the period 1996-2007 when they were Amber Status.
- They are omnivorous but eat mainly small fish, snails and insects.
- Their calls can be quite unusual and have been described as a 'pig like squealing' through to 'purring like contented squirrels'
- They are resident across most of the UK and inhabit marshes, swamps and reedy lake margins.
- Water Rails are quite affected by cold weather when they can be come predatory and attack quite large species. They can become weak quite quickly in icy spells.
- They can sometimes be seen carrying their young in the tips of their bills thought they are much more secretive in the breeding season than in the winter.
Well I really enjoy seeing these birds and loved finding out more about them. If you want to know more try these links: