Posts Tagged ‘Hammonassett’

Nemesis Bird

May 14, 2019

Hammonasset SP, 13th May

Getting a lifer was not on my radar today, but when Russ Smiley posted images of a rail in the marsh at Hammonassett SP that showed a stunning and bright King Rail, it presented the opportunity that I finally might be able to blunder into a nemesis bird, and by blunder I mean take a short drive there after picking up Alex from school in nearby Guilford. The queue in the hairdresser’s was long enough that we bailed on that, much to his (and my) relief, and after a short stop to pick up a burger I arrived, in foul weather conditions, at the blind at the bottom of Meig’s Point, Hammonassett.

King Rail, Hammonasset SP, 13th May 2019 (courtesy of Russ Smiley)

The bird – a big, ball of honey-buff– was immediately visible, hunkered down  in a sea of green and withered marsh grass. I ran back to the car to get my beat up spacemaster to get better views, but when I returned the bird had slinked off. Within minutes, it showed again, very well. And what a stunning looking bird it was -incredibly bright and richly colored, a deep, saturated honey brown color with distinctly streaked centres to the mantle and wing feathers, and broad black barring on the rear flanks.

The small marsh at Meig’s Point, Hammonasset SP (Julian Hough). The bird was hanging out in the centre here near the small channel.

After living here and travelling extensively in the US since 1987, I had never encountered a King Rail. I had never put that much concerted effort into looking for one, expecting to find my own or stumble into one during a sojurn in the field. Alas, it was never meant to be. But today, after 30 years, it was that easy.