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rail question

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Since there still isn't a good section(or one that gets attention) for other conversation I'm putting this here for now.

I'm on my vacation in Massachusetts and behind my mom's neighbor's house is a swamp associated with the Concord river. Two days ago we had a decent time sitting there, a few good birds. Yesterday I went by myself and I heard 3 virginia rails around 8:30 in the morning. I got a glimpse of one, not enough to KNOW it was that but the general shape, behavior, location suggested that's what I just saw and I heard both the basic male and female calls...  I was excited... but, my daughter wasn't with me. We went back out before 8:30 and waited, tried playback, waited... and nothing. :(
I meant to come on yesterday and ask...  is there a way to see one of these in the open? This swamp is thick and muddy... lots of weedy plants... the whole cove part of the river coming into the swamp is covered in duckweed... over a dozen wood ducks... osprey... herons...  even a mute swan all three days.
Is there a time of day where you can SEE a rail???  even if it's at night if I have a flashlight???  something? I NEED to know... ha. 

I'll report other details of the trip eventually. Got a few of the life birds we were looking for on the way and headed up to moose bog in VT tomorrow. Had a raven in the neighborhood this morning croaking away... Anyway... I could say more but there's lots to do...  "need" the rail info as my daughter NEEDS to see one. :)

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I had my King Rail in relatively open conditions; 'open' for a rail, that is.  The bird was working through some tall reeds spaced several inches apart, on the edge of an open marshland, moving around and under an elevated boardwalk.  (Augustans, Phinizy at the end of the boardwalk nearest the gift shop.)  My Sora was walking on thick marsh growth over water, often as far as a couple of feet from the nearest heavy cattails and reeds.  (Phinizy, nothernmost end of the diversion canal.)  I was within five feet of the Sora; if there hadn't been a chain link fence between us I might well have tripped over him!

Both of these birds were in a protected area, but it's not one where they would become acclimated to and accepting of people.  Still, my understanding is their behavior was a little more daring than is the norm for marshbirds, particularly the Sora.

 

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I've tried playback a couple times on Virginias, Clappers, and once on a King and a Black Rail.  I could get them to talk back but never "come out" for a picture.  My best sightings have been staked out in a canoe looking over a mudflat at low tide, up a little creek path, or a place where the reeds have been pressed down.  Also see if farmers will let you hang around the edges of the field while they are harvesting.  Lots of things moving while the habitat is systematically eliminated.  Check out the Yellow Rails and Rice Festival in Jennings, LA.

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Get out at first light. Check tides if relevant. Have patience with playback. Just sit and wait for them to come to you. Virginia Rails are, in my experience, I bit harder to get eyes on compared to Clapper, King, or Sora. 

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