Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Bird of the day: Pool Frog!

Next day, Sunday, a return to Rainham Marshes to seek out the Baillon's Crake for a second time...  Rather a lot of stress trying to see it with so many people packed in to the hide all trying to see a bird which is exceptionally difficult to see anyway.  By dusk however it had moved some 100yds and worked its way up a phragmites reed stem, to roost 2ft off the ground.  It was 'showing fairly well', to use that well-worn phrase, perched within an exposed bank of reeds.  I have to say this was incredibly frustrating, I just could not get onto that bird.  After what may heve been two entire minutes, someone said, 'has anyone not seen the bird?'.  To which I think my voice was the only one that replied 'yes, I haven't!!'  So, I looked through the scope already lined up on the bird, whilst another birder kindly lined mine up on it.  Yes, at last, what a relief, there it was.  It was just so difficult to pick out, yet obvious if you are looking in precisely the right place.  It's not often I struggle to get onto the bird, but this was one of them, and one I'm keen not to repeat too soon!  It was good to have a good look at the markings and face pattern, and although much of the body was obscured, one could see it was clearly short winged, the primary projection way shorter than on Little Crake.  I feverishly rushed out a sketch of the bird.  Thanks also to the Rainham staff for letting the few lucky souls enjoy those last and only views (for some) of the crake, they were wanting to close the hide and head home as darkness descended.

Earlier in the evening, in between scanning the reeds for the crake I spent time drawing and painting some of the (presumed) Pool Frogs resting in the shallows at the far side of the lagoon.  I say presumed, as Pool Frog is what they resemble but the taxonomy and ID of Pool Frog/Marsh Frog is not that straightforward, they hybridise too, and I'm no expert on these creatures.  There may be several species present here, as there are at sites in Kent.  They all originate from captivity apparently so are non-native.  But nice to see them at last - I'd always assumed they'd be impossible to see, even with a 'scope. 

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