Virginia Rails, GMNWR 5/15/06

It was cold and overcast. By the tower the King Rail and two Virginia Rails foraged directly below, with spectacular views, but I didn't want to go down to the car to get my camera - trade off, photos, or really getting to enjoy seeing the King. I picked the latter. But when we'd had our fill (and the King Rail had slipped into the foliage), we went down, and were told there was a family of Virginias a short way down the dike. We watched, enchanted, still cameraless, until one of them settled down on the chicks and I gave in to the camera.

She seemed undisturbed by our proximity (at about 20 feet away), but it was hard to tell. Was she unbothered, or stressed out by being forced to the very edge of the dike by the high water.

Occasionally the chicks could be seen peeking out, and we could hear them almost continually peeping.

After a while, she got up,

And she wandered into the vegetation. By now the light was so poor that the images were blurred.

Three tiny black chicks with white bills with a black stripe.

The male made a brief and very fast appearance.....