I first heard the pig like squeals of Water Rails at the end of January whilst surveying for Teal and Woodcock in the flooded woodland patch on the Long Rope trail.
Calling from a patch of woodland that I thought I knew so well, such was the loudness of the squeal that for a second I wondered if I was listening to a real Wild Boar. These Water Rails represent a first record for me in Orlestone Forest and are still very much a surprise bird to find here.
Over the space of a week I finally viewed fleeting glimpses of two birds, but I was never able to get a photograph such is the speed of the birds disappearing behind fallen trees and banks of bullrushes and wet scrub. Wanting to share the birds with friends, I set-up a wildlife camera trap, trained on a plastic cage (ex B&Q solar light) filled with fat balls. I left the trap running for a week and I am amazed at the results the camera has delivered. The pictures are sufficiently clear enough to show that this bird is an adult displaying a bright red eye and clean grey face. Its difficult to sex as males should be marginally larger than females.
I'm in no doubt this bird is a migrant from Eastern Europe and may well have been present since October, likely to leave and head East any day now. As I write I've set-up the camera just to see if I can record it once more before the birds depart.
The camera trap used is a Bushnell Nature View HD. For birds and small mammal images I can recommend it as it has two close-up lenses. See link - http://bushnell.com/wildlife/trail-cameras/natureview/live-view